Sue Reid on MMR in the Daily Mail

June 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm (Anti-Vaccination, Legal Chill) (, , , , )

The Daily Mail recently published a new article on MMR and autism. I was unhappy with the piece and had a conversation by email with the journalist, in which I set out my concerns.

Reasons for publishing the correspondence

1. I think that the emails provide a valuable insight into the thinking of this journalist, who writes for a very, very popular newspaper.

2. She threatened me with a libel action if I dared publish the exchange. To be honest, it was this threat that tipped the balance and convinced me to publish.

The threat

Here is the email I sent:

Dear Sue,

I have found our correspondence very interesting and I think others might be similarly interested in reading it. I would like to ask your permission to publish our exchange publicly. Please let me know whether you would be amenable to this, and (if so) whether you might have any conditions regarding publication.

Kind regards,
James

I thought she might have some conditions (that the correspondence be published in full, word-for-word – or perhaps that her contributions be anonymised) or that she might simply decline. For some reason, the aptly-named Sue decided a simple refusal wouldn’t be enough.

Here is the reply, in full:

Dear James, I see no reason why you would want to put this in the public domain, unless you wish to invite a libel action regarding your statements of my professional reporting skills. Sue

The original email exchange

Dear Ms Reid,

I read your article on the Italian MMR / autism court case with interest and there are a couple of points I would like to comment on.

The headline includes this: “The vast majority of doctors say there is no link between the triple jab and autism, but could an Italian court case reignite this controversial debate?”, which presents the issue as a matter for authority rather than evidence. That most doctors “say there is no link” might be interesting, but what is actually informative is that the evidence shows there is no link. As for questioning whether the ruling will reignite the debate – I am sure it will, thanks in part to articles such as the one you penned. I don’t know whether you were responsible for the headline – perhaps you might pass that comment on to the relevant person?

You write that the judgement “challenges the settled view of the majority of the medical profession”. If it does so at all, then it is a very weak challenge – the judgement reflects the opinion of one person (albeit apparently supported by three medical professionals), whereas medical consensus on MMR and autism is supported by robust evidence – the evidence is the reason for the consensus. In fact, the only mention of the evidence underpinning the view of the medical profession appears to be in the quote from the Department of Health at the very end of the article. This is something of a problem – the question of whether there is a link between the MMR vaccine and autism is best answered by robust, reliable evidence. If this evidence is not addressed, any discussion of a possible link is missing the most vital ingredient. Gerber and Offit’s paper Vaccines and Autism: A Tale of Shifting Hypotheses discusses the evidence that showed no association between MMR and autism. (See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908388/?tool=pubmed.)

Your article compares current estimates of autism prevalence to the reported rate in the 1980s and refers to the Department of Health and NHS doctors “arguing forcefully that better diagnosis of autism and environmental factors are responsible for the extraordinary rise in the number of cases”. What is characterised as “forceful argument” is a point of view that is supported by the best available evidence. The argument as presented appears to be incomplete or simplified, however – it is not just that there is “better diagnosis of autism” there is also a corresponding decline in other diagnoses. It is not simply the case that children were not previously diagnosed with autism – they were more frequently given different diagnoses than they are now. Shattuck and Baird et al have published papers describing the role of diagnostic substitution and other factors in the increase in ASD diagnoses. Yet this evidence is not mentioned. Again, it is presented as “experts argue that…” but the discussion of evidence is missing.

With Andrew Wakefield, it isn’t so much that his “research methods were later discredited” – a case series such as that presented by Wakefield could never justify the scaremongering that he began and the mainstream media fanned the flames of; the conclusions were never warranted on the basis of the results (which is why there was a partial retraction from 10 of 13 authors); his paper contained a number of errors (for example, several of the children whose cases formed the basis of the Lancet paper that was the beginning of the MMR scare had symptoms reported by Wakefield et al as occurring after administration of the MMR vaccine, but medical records which showed otherwise) and was eventually retracted in full by The Lancet when it became clear just how flawed it was. The research was later described by the BMJ as “fraudulent”.

The article includes a comment that “in the UK, this much-debated link has never been established in the courts.” The courtroom is not the place for such links to be established – and the Italian judgement has not in fact established a link. Finding no other pre-existing condition to explain the diagnosis of autism and ruling the vaccine to be the culprit on that basis is not only odd – it does not and cannot establish a link between the vaccine and autism. As far as I know, there is no reason to believe that autism is caused by “other pre-existing conditions” so simply excluding other pre-existing conditions gives no reason to even presume a link. It looks to me as if there has been a presumption of guilt in the courtroom when it comes to vaccine compensation – and I can see the merit of arguments for this to be the case, but presuming a vaccine is responsible for a condition and awarding compensation in no way demonstrates an actual link.

There are further references to “consensus of medical opinion” and “most doctors” without any reference to the evidence that the consensus is based on before we finally get to the one mention of the wealth of evidence showing no link – and that is in a quote from the Department of Health. You follow this with a comment to the effect that because of a judgement in an Italian courtroom the debate over a possible link between MMR and autism is “not over” – I think that the judgement is being treated as if it is an important contribution to the debate when it is not. I can’t see how a mere presumption that the vaccine is linked can overturn the wealth of evidence, robust evidence at that, showing there is no link.

Kind regards,
James

Dear James, If you read the Italian judgement on line you will see they did say there was a link, and it was a scientific probability, that this boy’s autism was caused by the MMR jab. Also, most importantly, the Italian High Court has since ruled that a child damaged by ANY VACCINE should get compensation – thereby making doctors (who in this country are paid bonuses to meet MMR targets of 90 per cent) think twice before they inoculate a child with a cold or stomach complaint, for instance, because they will, in Italy, now be liable if that child is later proven to have vaccine damage. I think that is a welcome safeguard and many parents have contacted me to say the same. This was a report, not a commentary. Are you suggesting that it should not have been reported? Regards, Sue

Dear Sue,

Thank you for your reply to my email.

I do accept that they said there was a link and used the term “scientific probability” but that is an opinion, not evidence. I can see no reasonable grounds for their conclusion. The basis appears to be that (a) there was a correlation between the time of vaccination and the onset of autism and (b) they could find no reason for the onset of autism. This has apparently led them to conclude that the vaccination was linked. There is an assumption that the vaccine was the cause, but no evidence to support this assumption. By contrast, the evidence that there is no link between MMR and autism is plentiful – as can be seen from the Gerber and Offit paper I referred to previously. I can understand courts presuming an association and compensating parents but this presumption of guilt is simply not evidence that there is a link.

I agree that a child damaged by any vaccine should get compensation, and I have no problem with courts presuming vaccine damage rather than it having to be established. What I have a problem with is this presumption of guilt being reported as if it is proof of a link between MMR and autism when it is no such thing.

As you bring the issue up, I should say that I have a problem with bonus payments for achieving certain levels of vaccine coverage – I note that GPs in 2002 voted to abandon the bonus payments for MMR vaccination (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1399087/Doctors-abandon-bonus-scheme-for-MMR-jabs.html) but I don’t think they went far enough. I think payments for achieving certain levels of vaccine coverage introduce a financial interest where none should exist. The sole motivation for achieving levels of vaccination that ensure herd immunity should be maintaining the health of the population. With regard to the point about vaccination of children who are ill, moderate or severe illnesses are already listed as contraindications for MMR vaccination and I see no reason to include minor illness – is there any evidence to support the idea that children with minor illnesses should not receive the MMR vaccine?

You say this was a report, not a commentary, and ask if I am suggesting it should not have been reported. Personally, I don’t think it is newsworthy that a vaccine compensation court presumed a link between a vaccination and the onset of a condition – but if it is thought that people might be interested then of course if will be reported. My problem is with the way it has been reported – various opinions have been reported but as I said in my original email the evidence has not. I think anyone suggesting that public health decisions should be made on the basis of opinions rather than evidence would be unwise.

I don’t normally write to journalists with whom I disagree (there simply wouldn’t be enough hours in the day) and I have to admit that I have singled you out here, but I believe my motivation for doing so is important. The reason I take this issue so seriously is because measles is a very serious, highly infectious disease that, when outbreaks occur, causes serious harm and death – but it is a serious, infectious disease that can easily be prevented by a vaccine that is safer than the disease by orders of magnitude.

The 10 years prior to the introduction of the single measles vaccine (1958-1967) brought 863 deaths, and 4,120,936 notifications. In the 10 years following the introduction of this vaccine (1968-1977), there were 292 deaths – and 1,600,979 notifications. Even with relatively low uptake, the use of this vaccine saw a reduction in the number of deaths of 571 (66%). There was a reduction in the number of notifications of 2,519,957, (61%).

With the improved uptake of measles vaccination following the introduction of MMR in 1988, notifications and deaths fell still further. The ten years following the introduction of MMR saw 18 deaths (compared with 140 in the previous ten years). Notifications, meanwhile, fell from 837,424 to 106,210.

Around 1 in 100 cases of measles will result in hospitalisation. The complications of measles include diarrhoea, convulsion, encephalitis, and death. Italy, 2002: 3 deaths, 594 hospitalizations. Germany, 2006: 160 children hospitalized, 3 with brain inflammation. Japan, 2000: 88 deaths. Ireland, 2000: 2 children dead. California, 1989/90: 75 deaths, 3,390 hospital admissions.

The consequences of measles infection are known to be real. The idea that autism is a consequence of MMR vaccination is not. You cannot even begin to compare actual deaths with imagined links to autism. Gerber and Offit: “although no data supporting an association between MMR vaccine and autism existed and a plausible biological mechanism was lacking, several epidemiologic studies were performed to address parental fears created by the publication by Wakefield et al”. Even though there was nothing that showed an association between the vaccine and autism and there was no reason to think there might be a link, researchers still conducted studies. None of these studies showed a link. Because there simply isn’t one.

Ecological studies: in the UK, MMR vaccination rates of autistic children were similar to those of the entire study population. Also, investigators did not observe a clustering of autism diagnoses relative to the time that children received MMR vaccine. In California, the increase in the number of autism diagnoses did not correlate with MMR vaccination rates. In Canada, autism rates increased coincident with a decrease in MMR vaccination rates (i.e., as uptake of MMR vaccine went down, autism diagnoses continued to rise).

Retrospective studies: In Denmark, researchers determined vaccination status and autism diagnosis in 537,303 children. The authors observed no differences in the relative risk of autism between those who did and those who did not receive MMR vaccine.

Kind regards,
James.

Actually, James, the Office of National Statistics and the Health Protection Agency says there have been four deaths from measles in the last twenty years, and two of these were children with serious underlying conditions, and one was misreported. Read up! We were all nursed through measles and I do not know anyone of my generation who died. I must inquire, are you part of the Big Pharma industry, do work for the Priory (which charges £300.000 a year to look after an autistic child) or what is your particular interest in this Italian case? The Italians (and again this is on line) say one child should not suffer for the herd. I think you ought to visit families (one in 64 in England and Wales) who have a child with an autistic condition. Spend a weekend with them, change the nappies at 21, that kind of thing and then you wouldn’t take such a partisan view. If there is any risk it needs debate and investigation. Sue

Dear Sue,

I have read the statistics on deaths from acute measles infection over the decades. The fact there have been so few in recent years is testimony to the vaccination program that you are undermining.

That you do not know anyone of your generation who died tells us nothing about the seriousness of measles then or today. Look at the statistics I provided in my previous email – you may not recall any victims of measles but it is clear that others will. Those are not just abstract numbers – they represent actual people who sadly died and whose friends and families mourn them now. In Duisburg in 2006 measles had a mortality rate of 1 in 307 as two of the three young people with encephalitis died. The two children who developed encephalitis and died were aged 2 months, and 2 years. The infant was too young for vaccination and would have relied upon herd immunity for protection. So if we’re thinking about the children, perhaps we should start with preventable deaths?

As for the difficulties faced by families who have children with autism, I do not deny them. But I do deny that there is a link between MMR vaccination and autism.You say that “if there is any risk it needs debate and investigation” – the potential risk has been debated and investigated already and the investigations showed there was no association between MMR and autism. You seem to be ignoring the investigations that have already taken place.

As for your query about my motivations – I made them clear in my previous email. You seem to think I was being dishonest and that I am in fact paid by Big Pharma. You are wrong about this – I have never received a penny in payment from Big Pharma and have absolutely no link to them. I have zero financial interest in either vaccination or autism. I am happy to have clarified this point and I do hope that you will accept my clarification as being honest.

Kind regards,
James

Dear James, Many children (one in 64 girls and boys) and their parents, endure a living death. Also there is always this insinuation that measles is a killer. I don’t what happened in Duisberg, but what happened in Manchester, or Birmingham, or Taunton. I am not undermining the vaccination programme (spelt correctly UK style) I am merely reporting what has happened in an  Italian court, after two years of medical investigation and hearings. Should we have hushed this up? Sue

Dear Sue,

You keep talking about how awful autism is. You seem to miss the point that it is not caused by vaccination. That is a rather important point to miss.

I haven’t suggested at any point that anything be “hushed up”, I’ve simply criticised the way that you have reported the case. I’m not saying ‘don’t report’ – I’m saying ‘report responsibly’.

Kind regards,
James.

Dear James, I am very concerned that you keep saying emphatically that autism is not caused by vaccination. That is what any new debate will be about. Surely parents of autistic children, of which there are many, many thousands in this country, deserve that at least? I see the Independent has reported the case too, and CBS in America is about to do so. There has been another case in Italy, and there are 150 in the pipeline….if you cannot go to a court for justice, where else?

At least state medicine, the pharmaceutical giants and other vested interests are not in charge there (well, not in Italy at least). As for measles, it has been insinuated that the drop in vaccination take up because of the MMR scare has provoked a measles epidemic in England and Wales that has killed a multitude of children.

This is clearly not true. And it would be disingenuous and legally dangerous to say otherwise. Sue.

Dear Sue,

I have simply pointed out that there has been rigorous investigation of the implausible notion that MMR could be linked to autism and that this rigorous investigation has shown there is no association.

You seem to think I have argued that parents should not be able to go to vaccine compensation courts – I think if you re-read my previous emails you will note that I have made no such argument.

There is at an implied assertion in your latest email that vested interests are “in control” in this country. Can you substantiate that? Are the pharmaceutical giants really in charge? What is the basis for this belief of yours?

Please point out where it has been insinuated that a multitude of children have been killed by measles in recent years.

Kind regards,
James.

Screenshot added, 27/6/12

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403 Comments

  1. Andysnat said,

    What a strange reaction from Ms Reid.

    I don’t trust her journalism, she doesn’t seem to understand how things work.

  2. Simon Guerrero (@fiatpanda) said,

    I don’t just find Ms Reid’s reaction bizarre (which it is), predictable (which it is, for a DM reporter) or frustrating (which it is). It also makes me incredibly angry. How dare she take Wakefield’s discredited data – created through the abuse of children and an attempt to market his own competing vaccine, and resulting in an increase of cases of measles – and use it to unnecessarily confuse parents of autistic children? And how dare she describe living with an autistic child as enduring “a living death”.? How incredibly stupid, dangerous and offensive.

  3. Michael W Story (@MWStory) said,

    Frightening, but not surprising- this is someone who’s reasoning powers seem to be based on emotional manipulation and saliency. Well done for being so patient with her

  4. Keith said,

    Aren’t legal cases like this rather simple?

    In a case of the Daily Mail vs anyone, surely the Daily Mail is wrong?

    We really need to sort out the libel laws in this country, so that big money bullies like the Daily Mail can’t just silence people with the threat of libel, then just outspend them in court if they’re pushed.

  5. xtaldave said,

    I think it is pretty clear that Ms Reid does not understand the difference between evidence/proof and opinion, and appears to presenting opinion as fact…

    Paging Lord Justice Leveson.

  6. James Gavin (@mad_gav) said,

    I shouldn’t be surprised, but I find myself sickened to see so many anti-vax lies apparently swallowed whole by a journalist (and I use the term in the widest possible sense here).

    Kudos for remaining polite and (apparently) calm in the face of such ignorance…

  7. Cybertiger said,

    Sue Reid appears to be an extraordinarily patient person.

  8. Tannice (@Tannice_) said,

    The way Ms Reid’s article was written and her libel threats do not surprise me. What did was the language used about Autistic children and likening them to “like something out of the exorcist”, framing them as “drains on resources” and saying they were a “blight” on their families.

    I have worked with ASD children and this misinformation makes parents mistrust their doctors. Then they start hurting them with toxic, damaging “treatments” like IV chelation, testosterone reducing Lupron and hormones like Secretin.

    Harmful AND derogatory. Low even for the Daily Mail.

  9. paulonbooks said,

    A pity that the Mail should attempt serious journalism for the first time in a few years and get it so wrong. That aside, Ms Reid might do well to avoid the parents, siblings and friends of all those autistic people enduring “a living death”. That phrase alone betrays a staggering lack of knowledge and basic human decency.

  10. Skepticat said,

    Nice one, James.

    Having ploughed through the correspondence, I fear Sue Reid may be too intellectually and morally obtuse to have learned much from it. But it’s interesting that she didn’t want it made public. It suggests she knows at some level that she’s lost the argument, even if she can’t quite grasp where she’s gone wrong. Or maybe she just realises she comes across as a pompous pillock (“spelt correctly UK style”, “are you part of the Big Pharma industry”, etc). I love how she makes herself look even worse by issuing that pathetic and risible libel threat.

  11. Paul Lawrence Hayes said,

    “The original email exchange”

    Melted my cringeometer and made me wish such enormously unbalanced battles of wits weren’t necessary.

  12. Cybertiger said,

    At least someone of importance keeps an open mind,

    http://www.leighreporter.co.uk/news/local/mmr-jabs-mum-hails-new-ruling-1-4659824

    “We only ever act on medical evidence and if that evidence changes then we have an obligation to look at an issue again.”

    Good on you, Andy Burnham!

  13. Acleron (@Acleron1) said,

    There is nothing you have said that could be the basis of a libel action.

    But what she said can only invite derision. She obviously sees autistic sufferers and measles victims as just a commodity to be traded into some words to earn a bit for her paper and herself.

    I haven’t bought a copy of the Fail for some years but I presume that the pharmaceutical OTC divisions no longer advertise with them.

  14. Scott said,

    Activating Streisand effect.

  15. Gemma said,

    Do you know if there are there any recent studies looking at the rate of ASD in children not given the MMR vaccine? Children born at the time these issues were being “debated” would almost certainly have been diagnosed by now. I’d imagine the rates would be identical to those given the vaccine, but can’t find any credible information.

  16. Maaaaa said,

    Mother of divine…what is she on! Any credible journalist would know how Wakefields work has been discredited…

    I also take insult to her claims my friend’s son is enduring a living death and that she will be changing his nappies at 21…not only is he in mainstream education, he’s a happy kid and last I heard was fully potty trained.

    But then not surprised…it is the Daily Mail

  17. Kirsty Newman (@kirstyevidence) said,

    James, I think you did a very good job at remaining polite and respectful in your correspondence.

    Its important to remember that people like Ms Reid genuinely think they are doing the right thing. She believes that there is a conspiracy here and she is trying to play a part in uncovering it. It is true that she doesn’t have a good understanding of research evidence and that writing in this way is potentially very dangerous. But she is trying to do a good thing.

    These kind of discussions make me feel that we need to make learning the principles of double blinded randomised controlled trials a compulsory part of school curricula. It seems to me that it would be far more important than almost anything that I remember learning about in science at high school science classes.

  18. fat jacques said,

    One for Justice Levenson? Far more important than footballers and film starts voice mails.

  19. Jim said,

    James,

    I accept the fact that the measles inoculation and MMR have resulted in a reduction in the number of deaths from that disease. However, many children had adverse reactions to the measles inoculation including me. As far as I am concerned, my own personal experience suggests to me that there could conceivably be far more children who also had similar adverse reactions to the single measles inoculation and the MMR. I do not consider absence of evidence to be evidence of absence as you appear to. As I have come to learn recently, there is much that the medical profession does not know, surprisingly concerning what appear to me to be very simple matters indeed which tends to suggest that all of these studies you seem to think are so important may well have missed links between vaccination and autism and other conditions.

    Indeed, you appear to have gotten your pants in an unjustifiable twist over this matter to the extent that I wonder what your motivation is for being so sensitive on the subject. Would you care to disclose your interests in this matter?

  20. Recovering Agnostic said,

    Thanks for deciding to publish this. It’s an important conversation to get out in the open. I’m particularly interested that she doesn’t seem to advance any evidence for a link between MMR and autism, but simply emotes about how terrible autism is. In the unlikely event that anyone’s still honestly undecided on this issue, this exchange should settle it once and for all.

  21. Is that right? « Ruined for Life: Phoenix Edition said,

    [...] Sue Reid on MMR in the Daily Mail (jdc325.wordpress.com) [...]

  22. Autism parent said,

    Well done, Ms Reid! Thank you for speaking up for hundreds of parents of children affected by autism in the UK. The Italian ruling is massive news, yet, surprise surprise, hardly any newspapers have dared to run it, in the current political climate in which nobody dares question the safety of vaccines. But what happens when parents go to their doctor’s to voice their opinion that their child regressed after vaccination? As in this case, such concerns are routinely brushed under the carpet, and the subsequent development of autism is dismissed as coincidence. This happens time and again; how many times is not known, because nobody has bothered to keep count. Parents’ concerns need to be taken seriously and thorough clinical research into the safety of these vaccinations is required. Unfortunately, in the increasingly authoritarian political climate in which we live, those who question the safety of vaccines are portrayed as irresponsible and blamed for undermining the ever-expanding childhood vaccination programme. But is it right that the only way of maintaining this programme, which is necessarily based on trust in the authorities, is by silencing criticism and muzzling debate? For the sake of our children, we need to get this issue out in the open.

  23. Bock said,

  24. just a mum said,

    To Sue Reid, from just another autism mother: THANK YOU for the bottom of my heart for reporting on this important matter. We keep hoping that the day will come when parent’s concerns are addressed and investigated openly and with no political pressure hanging over doctors and researchers.

    Real medical answers and help for thousands upon thousands of children who are pushed over the edge and disappear thanks to vaccines (and who are not counted or investigated, ever!!) instead of skewed statistical ‘answers’ and bitter pseudoscepticism – what a glorious glorious day it will be! Our children are desperately SICK. Medically sick. Ignored. We keep hoping. Thank you.

  25. just a mum said,

    And btw yes I can vouch for severe autism being a living hell. My friend’s son is 17, hardly verbal, still in nappies. Lives in pain and often has bloody stools. No doctor would treat him. Everyone is very scared.

  26. Loxigirl said,

    I am not living a “living death,” Ms. Reid. And if any of my friends at or below my functioning level with more limited communication are in a living death, I would wager heavily that it is more the result of ignorant people such as yourself than of autism itself.

    People who assume that because we are different we are incapable do us no favors, whether those people are are our parents, community members, or ignorant “journalists”.

    If we do not connect like you or in a manner you recognize, that does not mean we can not connect. If we do not communicate as you do, that does not mean we are incapable of communication. If we do not think like you, that does not make us wrong, but different.

    I have a friend, who is only slightly lower functioning than I, but is non-verbal. When he and I are alone, he’ll use whatever pictures are available and some gesturing to communicate with me. He’ll cook, help with household chores, joke around, and is generally communicative, fun, and capable of everything I am short of communicating with written or spoken words. When his family is around, he sits in a corner and rocks. Why? 20 years of ignoring his gesturing and use of pictures and treating him as though he’s stupid or can’t understand them have beaten him down. He’s given up on trying to establish contact with them, because they are so convinced it is a tragedy that they refuse to realize what he is capable of. The only tragedy of autism that I know of is the one where parents are so caught up in the child they’ve supposedly lost to appreciate the one they have, so fixated on the supposed cause or cures that they neglect anything that might help their child live the best life they can with the neurology they have.

    I was incredibly lucky, despite being low functioning, I am capable of fairly good written communication and some basic verbal communication. I have been able to advocate for myself. Many of my friends are not as fortunate, their primary form of communication is ignored as invalid, and many have parents who think that their supposed tragic loss of a child that perhaps never even existed surpasses the needs of the child they have.

    I am not a tragedy, and neither are my friends. We are not “trapped” in “living death” but are fully capable of living happy lives when treated with the dignity of human beings instead of as some sort of unfortunate reminders of the children you wished for.

  27. Another Rabid Zebra said,

    Mothers of autistic children, you are obviously looking for answers to your childrens’ condition, however, you are barking up the wrong tree. The MMR and measles vaccines DO NOT cause autism. Wakefield is a fraud and his research is thoroughly discredited. Vaccines help your children NOT TO DIE from preventable illnesses, and ensure that if one of their friends or classmates fall ill from measles, mumps or rubeola that they will also NOT DIE. The entire reason measles is seen as a mild childhood illness is precisely because of the effectiveness of the vaccination programs you now blame for harming your children. And despite what people like Jenny McCarthy might claim, autism cannot be “cured”. There is no conspiracy to harm children for the sake of making money; if there were the scientific and medical communities would not go along with it. But this is pure fantasy – several highly credible studies have shown ABSOLUTELY NO CREDIBLE LINK OF ANY SORT between the MMR vaccine and increased rates of autism in children.

  28. Marsupial Mama (@MarsupialMami) said,

    My son was diagnosed as borderline severely Autistic at three years old when he was still non-verbal and in nappies. We have been working extremely hard with him (using evidence-based methods – like Verbal Behavior ABA among others) and he has made massive progress.

    He had all his immunizations, but I do not believe they had anything to do with his Autism, as the evidence does not support that view. What I *do* know is that herd immunity is being compromised and I want my children healthy and safe from preventable diseases.

    My son (who is nearly 5 now) recently had a psycho-educational evaluation that showed that although his speech/communication is still significantly delayed, he is massively intelligent (in the 95th percentile) and is now considered “High-Functioning”.

    Thank you James for sharing this correspondence. As well as other things it shows how carelessly some people “argue” their positions and also resort to ad hominem attacks because they are too lazy to find actual evidence to back up their unsubstantiated claims. You are my hero for posting this despite that lady’s ridiculous threats.

  29. Autism parent said,

    Another Rabid Zebra, the Italian court and High Court certainly don’t agree with you, nor do hundreds of other autism parents. Loxigirl, the autism parents I know are definitely NOT to blame for their children’s autistic symptoms. Bruno Bettelheim coined the term ‘refrigerator mothers’ to pin the blame on parents, and it seems this attitude still persists today. The reality is, parents are desperate to help their children, who are sometimes in pain but unable to verbalise it – a living hell. There is very little help from mainstream medicine – a recent Channel 4 News report documented the case of a young boy who was prescribed anti-psychotic medication for his self-injurious behaviour, which was later found to be due to acid reflux. The poor boy was in dreadful pain which he could only express through self-harming. When he was treated for reflux, the self-harming stopped. I know of other similar cases which have not been in the media, and of course it begs the question – how many other children with autism who are self-injuring are in pain, which has not been recognised or treated? The neglect of the health needs of children with autism is a national scandal, and it is not the fault of the parents, but a failure of the medical and political establishment.
    Ms Reid, thank you once again for having the courage to write this article. The fact that you are getting so much criticism for simply reporting the findings of a court case is indicative of the prevailing political climate.

  30. Patricia said,

    I find it odd that someone who seems to champion a court decision from Italy on MMR becomes so English-only when it comes to measles outbreaks.

    As for the libel accusations, quoting direct words is difficult to see as libel, though making accusations that someone is in the pay of Big Pharma would be.

    Loxigirl: I find your comment standing up for the abilities of your fellow autistics to be eloquent, not merely “fairly good written communication”. If the supposedly normal rest of us are so much better abled, we should try to figure out how to communicate with the autistic on their terms, instead of trying to force them into ours and judging them for falling short on an inappropriate scale.

  31. Jim said,

    P.S. I meant to add that for vaccinations to be “a good thing” the adverse effects of their use needs to be balanced against their benefits. I am not convinced that we are aware of all the possible adverse side-effects of many drugs including vaccinations and until such times as we are, IMHO statistics on reduced death rates from diseases as measles are just that, statistics.

  32. Sunday Morning Survey – What Skeptical Topic Gets Your Goat? #ScienceGirlThing | Token Skeptic said,

    [...] By the way – don’t QUESTION what some people say about the MMR vaccine… wouldn’t want that happening when you write to journalists – Sue Reid on MMR in the Daily Mail. [...]

  33. Another autism mom said,

    How refreshing it is to see a journalist who is both well-researched and showing common sense. That seems to be offending a great number of people who clearly have done little actual research into vaccine efficacy, safety and adverse reactions other than what normally makes it into the papers/news hours via lazy journalists. And to be clear, I’m not refering to anything said by Jenny McCarthy or Andrew Wakefield, but other excellent research that clearly shows that vaccines can lead to severe immune reactions that have life-altering consequences. Even vaccine manufacturers admit that their products can kill, yet intellectually incurious people refuse to believe that we have to openly research the connection between autism (and the other skyrocketing diagnoses among children) and vaccines.

  34. Chris said,

    Autism mom and just a mom, I have a couple of questions for you since I am a parent of a child who had seizures and is disabled from getting an actual disease before there was a vaccine:

    1: The USA introduced an MMR vaccine in 1971. Could you please point to the scientific literature that showed a sharp increase in autism there starting in the 1970s? Please provided the title, journal and dates of the PubMed indexed papers showing this increase that are dated before 1997. Thank you.

    2: Which MMR vaccine was Wakefield researching? Between 1988 and 1992 there were at least three different MMR vaccines used in the UK, and one child was American. In 1992 the ones using the Urabe mumps strain was removed. So please clarify which MMR vaccine was being studied.

    Loxigirl, that was wonderful.

  35. Chris said,

    Another Autism Mom said:

    Even vaccine manufacturers admit that their products can kill, yet intellectually incurious people refuse to believe that we have to openly research the connection between autism (and the other skyrocketing diagnoses among children) and vaccines.

    Please do tell us how many children have died from the MMR vaccine versus how many die from measles, with supporting evidence.

    And I would like you to try answering my above questions. I am dearly curious about the autism rates skyrocketing in the USA after their MMR was introduced in 1971. This must have been where Wakefield got his idea to study it in the UK after it had been used in the USA for over twenty years. He must have had lots of papers to reference, so could you be so kind as to provide those for us, because no one seems to know about them.

  36. Neuroskeptic said,

    “The vast majority of journalists say there is a link between the triple jab and autism, but could a British blog post reignite this controversial debate?”

  37. murmur said,

    Speaking as a member of the “state medicine” conspiracy in the UK, perhaps certain posters who suggest that there are no services for autistic children can explain to me why my service (community child and adolescent mental health) has such a high proportion of autistic children on its books (up to around 30% of total case load)?

    But no doubt my views, experience and knowledge will be dismissed in certain quarters because I am obviously part of Teh Ebil Konspirusy…

    Overall, a shoddy piece of journalism (in my opinion – before any more spurious libel threats are thrown), of a piece with the Fail’s coverage of such issues (see for example Carol Sarler’s ludicrous piece earlier this year about trans gender issues.

  38. Neuroskeptic said,

    I see Big Newsprint and their shills (‘readers’) are out in force. It’s an industry based on lies and deception, making money from innocent people. Even the manufacturers admit that their products can kill independent thought.

  39. Head*desk said,

    I can only applaud Loxigirl’s eloquent and heartfelt explanation of her life within autism. I, too, am on the autistic spectrum, and am deeply offended by such sweeping generalised comments about “living hell”. And having worked in a special school with severely autistic children, I am glad that their parents were fighting the right fight, to help their children, rather than blaming everyone else.

    I do understand why parents of autistic children will seek out that blame, but what I don’t understand is why they are so blind to the simple facts that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that shows there is no link between MMR and autism. How do they explain this away?

    I can recommend that people watch the videos of silentmiaow on You Tube, particularly Being an Unperson, for a profound viewpoint about life with autism.

  40. @advodiaboli said,

    Many thanks James.

    I’ve followed the Italian Job as closely as I can and was astonished to read Sue Reid’s piece. Despite it’s length, it omitted the fierce criticism from medical authorities toward the judgement. Not least of course, being the guilt forced upon parents who had chosen to vaccinate and later see development of autism.

    That such a poor legal outcome emerged, of course offers naught to the evidence and scientific consensus that renders it irrefutably non-representative of AEFI events. It is a toweringly immoral failure in light of the available evidence.

    Autistic-like symptoms do not equal autism (which remains a condition of unknown aetiology), and the startlingly acute onset of symptoms here is very far removed from the typically gradual onset one expects with autism.

    PDD following a sudden demyelinating event – similar to the Bailey Banks case – would appear an excellent starting point.

    Finally, Reid has of course failed all her readers in denying a synopsis of exactly why autism cases as an unchanging phenomena are misconstrued as rising. It is frequency of autistic *diagnoses* due to changing criteria and of course funded health care intervention and respite that accompanies autistic diagnoses (but not other behavioural diagnoses) that drive frequency up.

    As Brugha demonstrated with deftness. Apply today’s diagnostic criteria to a sample of novel adults, and we have exactly the same percentage of autistic diagnoses as in children. In Brugha’s survey, not one knew they had autism.

    I concur. An inferior article from Reid, whose biased ignorance is clearly borne out above.

  41. Daniel said,

    Thanks for posting this exchange.

    It is good for people to be able to see what actual work has and is being done like this, as comments such as
    “Parents’ concerns need to be taken seriously and thorough clinical research into the safety of these vaccinations is required.”
    from Autism parent, which I think we all agree with, suggest that some people believe little investigation into vaccines is carried out.

    “Unfortunately, in the increasingly authoritarian political climate in which we live, those who question the safety of vaccines are portrayed as irresponsible” (Autism parent).
    This is of course not true. The safety of vaccines is studied all the time by scientists. What is irresponsible is people trying to cast doubt on this work without themselves providing any good evidence.

    Unfortunately, as is clear from the end of the conversation with Sue Ried, some people believe ‘vested interests’ irredeemable ‘taint’ the medical/scientific establishment so that their expertise and evidence on this topic can be dismissed out of hand. I do not know what you can do about such people.

  42. just a mum said,

    @Chris: I never said (nor did the other autism mum as far as I can tell) anything about MMR in particular. I know that ANY vaccine is capable of inducing neurological damage, i.e. spiralling a vulnerable child into autism. Multiple vaccines (esp where live virus ones are involved) such as MMR only multiply that risk, but are by no means the only culprit.

    @Head*desk – I was not talking about Mental Health services, those are the last thing a truly medically sick person needs. (not to say that there are no m/h issues in autism, there are plenty, but those would almost always arise as secondary problems, not primary).

    Autism is a whole-body multi-layered disorder, and brain is just an organ linked to others. Our kids need medical doctors – neurologists (1 in 5 will develop serious seizures by the time they reach puberty), immunologists, cardiologists, oncologists, gastroenterologists… For those interested in reading actual science first hand (instead of regurgitating ignorant opinions and burying head in sand) there is plentiful research showing much, much higher prevalence of chronic medical disorders in autism, much higher mortality rates, and desperately inadequate awareness and recognition of those issues by medical community and painful lack of treatments. And Yes I mean much increased risk of many serious life-threatening diseases, (not “merely” gastrointestinal). I won’t post the links – research is out there readily available to those who bother to find it and are capable of reading it.

    @advodiaboli: autistic symptoms do indeed equal autism, there is nothing to autism diagnosis and definition APART from autistic symptoms. Autism is defined and diagnosed solely by surface symptoms. Everything else is wishful thinking.

    And to anyone talking about blame, this is not about blame. It is about understanding what happens, about treatment, and about prevention of future tragedies.

  43. Cybertiger said,

    Well said, just a mum!

  44. murmur said,

    Head*Desk didn’t mention mental health services: that was me, because, for reasons which I do not claim to understand autism seems to fall under a mental health remit in the UK (many of us would argue that there should be separate, specialist services for neuro-developmental disorders away from mental health, but it ain’t happening – nag your GPs when they take over commissioning).

  45. jdc325 said,

    @Jim

    I do not consider absence of evidence to be evidence of absence as you appear to.

    You will note that I refer to the evidence in my emails to Ms Reid. I even link to one of the papers (Gerber and Offit). There isn’t an absence of evidence – there is evidence that shows no association between MMR and autism.

    Indeed, you appear to have gotten your pants in an unjustifiable twist over this matter to the extent that I wonder what your motivation is for being so sensitive on the subject. Would you care to disclose your interests in this matter?

    As you can see from the email exchange, I state my motivation for writing to Ms Reid and I confirm that I have zero financial interest in either vaccines or autism. Can I ask why you are asking me to declare my interests when I have already declared them? Just to be absolutely clear: my relevant interests here are in public health, the discussion of evidence in reporting of health issues, and the seriousness of measles.

  46. jdc325 said,

    @Autism Parent

    Unfortunately, in the increasingly authoritarian political climate in which we live, those who question the safety of vaccines are portrayed as irresponsible and blamed for undermining the ever-expanding childhood vaccination programme. But is it right that the only way of maintaining this programme, which is necessarily based on trust in the authorities, is by silencing criticism and muzzling debate? For the sake of our children, we need to get this issue out in the open.

    You seem to think that the only way of maintaining the vaccination programme is by silencing criticism and muzzling debate. Can I ask you to please point out where I have attempted to “silence criticism” and “muzzle debate” in the email exchange I had with Sue Reid which I then published publicly? If you read the post, you might conclude that one person is attempting to silence criticism and muzzle debate by issuing legal threats. That person is not me. And if you think the authorities are silencing criticism and muzzling debate then can you please explain what can be seen here? If they are trying to muzzle debate, then the authorities can’t be doing a very good job of it.

  47. Jim said,

    @jdc325

    It seems to me that the evidence consists entirely of having failed to find an association between autism and MMR. This does not mean, however, that there is none; just that they did not find one. As I said, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    As for why I asked you to declare your interests: you seem to be going to a lot of trouble for a lay person with no motivation other than the public health. I am also very interested in the public health but my motivation is that I have discovered that I have been seriously ill for many years and not one doctor diagnosed me despite having been to see experts in the field. It’s for this reason that I question any claims of scientists which amount to nothing more than appeals to authority in terms of a co-called consensus. In my case I have discovered an extremely basic area of medical knowledge in which most doctors are deficient. It is so shocking that, for me at least, it calls into question the ability of doctors and scientists to claim knowledge of anything.

    I may be wrong but I get the impression that you see yourself as some sort of “skeptic” and wish to promote scientific evidence-based medicine as some sort of panacea for all our ills. That’s great as far as it goes but, IMHO, as a scientist of sorts myself(at least I have a BSc), scepticism is natural default state for a scientist and that should include extreme scepticism of any scientists who insist they are right about something because of a so-called consensus. This should set alarm bells ringing in the mind of any true scientist.

  48. Cybertiger said,

    Nicely put, Jim!

  49. Autism parent said,

    @jdc325
    What has been sidelined in most of this discussion is the elephant in the room, the unavoidable FACT, whether you like it or not, that the Italian court has ruled that MMR CAUSED AUTISM. This is a landmark judgement, which could have massive implications for health policy in the UK and the rest of the world. And yet, as far as I know, it has only been reported in two national newspapers . . . why? I can only assume that it is due to fear of the potential disruption to the MMR vaccination programme. This is what I meant by the silencing of criticism and muzzling of debate. Even in this discussion thread, there is very little reference to the fact of the ruling itself, and a lot of very personal attacks against Ms Reid; comments such as:

    ‘she doesn’t seem to understand how things work’
    her’reasoning powers seem to be based on emotional manipulation’
    ‘incredibly stupid’
    ‘Ms Reid does not understand the difference between evidence/proof and opinion, and appears to presenting opinion as fact…’
    ‘such ignorance’
    ‘a staggering lack of knowledge and basic human decency’
    ‘intellectually and morally obtuse’
    ‘she comes across as a pompous pillock’
    ‘what is she on!’
    ‘too lazy to find actual evidence to back up their unsubstantiated claims’
    ‘biased ignorance’

    It is hardly surprising that few journalists dare to venture into the lion pit topic of vaccinations and their side effects, when such a torrent of abuse is unleashed. Sadly the prevailing attitude seems to be, we don’t like the message so let’s shoot the messenger.

  50. jdc325 said,

    @Jim

    It seems to me that the evidence consists entirely of having failed to find an association between autism and MMR. This does not mean, however, that there is none; just that they did not find one. As I said, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    If the evidence showing no association between autism and MMR does not constitute evidence of absence, what would?

    As for why I asked you to declare your interests: you seem to be going to a lot of trouble for a lay person with no motivation other than the public health.

    So you simply assume that public health and an interest in the discussion of evidence aren’t motivation enough and there must be something else? It’s an odd assumption and I’ve already assured you that it is mistaken.

    I may be wrong but I get the impression that you see yourself as some sort of “skeptic” and wish to promote scientific evidence-based medicine as some sort of panacea for all our ills.

    I don’t think I’ve said (or implied) that evidence-based medicine is a panacea for all ills. I do think, though, that use of current best evidence in making decisions about healthcare is wise. Do you disagree? If so, how do you think decisions should be made if you don’t think that the current best evidence should be used?

    That’s great as far as it goes but, IMHO, as a scientist of sorts myself(at least I have a BSc), scepticism is natural default state for a scientist and that should include extreme scepticism of any scientists who insist they are right about something because of a so-called consensus. This should set alarm bells ringing in the mind of any true scientist.

    The idea that it is consensus rather than evidence that dictates the position of those who disagree with Sue Reid is one that I have already challenged. Please tell me who is insisting they are correct because of consensus and point out where they have done so.

  51. plutosdad said,

    I don’t see anywhere that you made any mention of her “professional reporting skills”, or that you said anything about her at all. So why is she all in a tizzy?

    Secondly, I fail to understand why anyone thinks just because a judge said something is true means that it is? The rules of evidence for courts of law have nothing at all to do with science and how we learn about the world around us. What do courts have to do with anything? My father was a trial lawyer, my fiance is, and believe, me even they joke that trials have nothing to do with the truth or what happened. They have to do with manipulating people into deciding in favor of you by playing to emotion, prejudice, and other base instincts. The truth has nothing to do with it. Sad and scary when you think of it.

  52. jdc325 said,

    @Autism parent,

    You refer to the ruling as “the elephant in the room” and complain that it has been sidelined in the discussion. Sue Reid’s article and our email exchange addressed the ruling, our opinions on the ruling are quite clear, and I don’t see what there is to add. Presumably the reason others have not commented on the ruling is that they too feel there is nothing to add. What else would you like us to say about it?

    You say you wonder why the ruling has only been reported in two national newspapers and go on to say that you assume “it is due to fear of the potential disruption to the MMR vaccination programme”. I cannot say why other national newspapers have not published stories and I make no assumptions. I can imagine other reasons they might not be interested in covering the story though. Perhaps you would be better off asking them rather than me?

    As for personal attacks, I don’t think they add to debate and I try to avoid making them myself. Having said that, I do think the references to “lion pit” and “torrent of abuse” are a little OTT. Perhaps I am thicker-skinned than journalists, but I must say that I have had my fair share of abuse for writing about alternative medicine and other topics on this blog and it hasn’t put me off.

  53. Jim said,

    @jdc325

    I can’t seem to see how to do a proper reply here with quotes. The below replies line up with yours in your previous reply to me.

    The point is that just because no evidence has been found, doesn’t mean there isn’t any to be found at some point in the future. There is still ongoing research into the causes of autism and this may throw up such links. In the meantime, it behoves everyone concerned to keep an open mind.

    I see that you describe yourself as an idiot with a keyboard. Well, far be it for me to disagree. I think that someone who wants to cross swords with journalists for national newspapers on important scientific matters should be a little more open with his background and qualifications. As it stands, all I can see is yet another another blogger sucking up to the scientific establishment, unthinkingly parroting their arguments and potentially getting himself into serious trouble.

    The problem is whose best evidence. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that there must be an awful lot of fallacious medical scientific information out there purely because I am now aware of just how little understanding there is in the medical profession of some very basic, fundamental facts. They are so fundamental that, if they weren’t taken into account in the design of medical trials, they would probably render the results suspect if not useless. There is some fantastic science being done at the moment but, equally, there is some absolutely godawful science and it is killing people. Scientists need to be held to account for their science, not fawned over by puppy dog bloggers who are in awe of their supposed scientific infallibility.

    How many times do I need to explain the point about absence of evidence not being evidence of absence? The simple fact of the matter is that scientists may simply not have looked in the right place for the evidence.

  54. Emma said,

  55. mrsP said,

    Thanks JDC for another interesting blog.

    @ Autism Parent

    Tha judgement of the Italian court is a fact – however this is still not evidence that MMR or any vaccination causes autism.

    Evidence for causation requires a plausible hypothesis, research, peer reviewed papers proving the connection, replication of the results by other scientists followed eventually by a consensus of experts in the field. This has not happened in spite of ongoing monitoring of vaccination for many years.

    Your appear to suggest that there is some conspiracy by big pharma to hide any connection, to keep their profits on vaccines. Just think what this would entail. All scientists involved in the research and production of vaccines, all the rest of the staff, the NHS, and the departments of health and probably the treasury in government. Also involved would be governments and health departments around the world. Do you really, really think that is is plausible that such a large number of people, into tens of thousands, could keep secret this conspiracy? Come on, start thinking rationally.

  56. nano said,

    Just some loose rumblings, with all due humbleness,

    As trained scientists, with the natural world as our workplace, we dont have the luxury to define the world in accordance with our mental projections, or how we would like the world to work or behave.

    We have all learned, and often “the hard way”, that the world pretty much does as it pleases, with no regard to how important we think it is, or how “sure” we are, or how much we would like it to be different.

    We have no option but to accept the evidence of reality, before our personal opinion of how it “ought” to work.

    And I would say thet our greatest challange to date has not been to secure and accumulate evidence, but rather to prevent our fragile “minds”, that so easily find patterns were none exists, extrapolate from anecdotal evidence or that just jumps to conclusions, from getting in the way of the real world.

    We have all learned through our own misstakes, not to uncritically trust our minds, but to painstakingly work out methods to limit its influence and objectively search out the evidence that supports or disproves an idea.

    I would dare say that neither Sue, nor several of the other commentators, have had this personal opportunity to learn for them selves, just how severe and debilitating these limitations of their own minds can be.

    Do you think we insist on objective scientific evidence and dont take your personal experiances seriously, just because we are nonchalant or in spite?

    Do you think we can not also feel with your pain and anguish?

    We do it because we know, from expertize, personal experiance and 500 years aggregated knowledge, that there just do not exist any reliable shortcuts. That the world is neither good nor evil or fair, it just is.

  57. nano said,

    Much respect for your patience James, and many thanks for sharing this!

  58. Paul Lawrence Hayes said,

    @Jim

    “How many times do I need to explain the point about absence of evidence not being evidence of absence?”

    Just how much deeper do you intend to make this hole of profound inferential illogic and scientific illiteracy you’ve dug yourself into?

  59. Bock said,

    Jim — Absence of evidence means exactly that. No evidence. There are no grounds for making your claim.

    When you find that evidence, come back and it will be taken seriously, but for now, you have no basis to support your position. I hope that explains it clearly enough.

  60. Chris said,

    just a mom:

    r. I know that ANY vaccine is capable of inducing neurological damage, i.e. spiralling a vulnerable child into autism. Multiple vaccines (esp where live virus ones are involved) such as MMR only multiply that risk, but are by no means the only culprit.

    Now compare that to the diseases. Measles causes encephalitis in about 1% of cases, congenital rubella syndrome is a known cause of autism, and mumps used to be the major cause of post-lingual deafness, and also has a risk of encephalitis. My kid had seizures from yet another disease before its vaccine was available.

    Do tell us what the comparable risks of neurological damage from the MMR versus measles, mumps and rubella. Provide the title, journal and dates of the PubMed indexed papers to support your statements that MMR vaccination carries risks above that of the diseases. To help you, try reading this: The Clinical Significance of Measles: A Review. I am sure you will find paragraph fascinating:

    Postinfectious encephalomyelitis (PIE) occurs in 13 per 1000 infected persons, usually 3–10 days after onset of rash [39, 131]. …snip…. As many as 25% of people with PIE due to measles die, and ∼33% of survivors have lifelong neurological sequelae, including severe retardation, motor impairment, blindness, and sometimes hemiparesis [39, 131].

  61. Autism parent said,

    @MrsP

    Let’s suppose, just for a moment, that the Italian court has actually got it right, and the MMR can trigger autism in susceptible individuals (just as it is accepted that vaccinations can cause other kinds of neurological impairment, for which there have been a substantial number of compensation awards . . . not such a big leap to autism, is it?) What would be the impact on the pharmaceutical industry, and governments across the world? The multi-billion dollar vaccination programme would collapse, as would many companies themselves, under the burden of massive compensation awards. This is a nightmare scenario for the pharmaceutical industry, which provides funding for most medical research. There is very little incentive for them to fund research into a possible link between MMR and autism – turkeys don’t vote for Christmas! It’s not a question of thousands of people keeping a secret, as you posit; but rather, the research which could possibly uncover a link is not being undertaken because there is no funding. Neither is there the political will to investigate this, because governments are implicated in the vaccination programme too, and would also stand to lose huge amounts of money and even be brought down.
    There are plenty of precedents for medical cover-ups – it took over 50 years from the coining of the tag ‘asbestosis’ in 1928 for asbestos to be banned in the US in 1979. I’m sure that if the term ‘conspiracy theory’ had been in circulation at the time, it would have been used to denigrate those who believed that asbestos caused lung disease.

  62. Michael Marshall (@MrMMarsh) said,

    In case any background were needed, here’s something a quick Google search for Sue revealed, presented without comment or endorsement:

    http://www.fivechinesecrackers.com/2009/11/disgraceful-fact-free-scaremongering.html

  63. jdc325 said,

    @Autism parent

    There is very little incentive for them to fund research into a possible link between MMR and autism – turkeys don’t vote for Christmas! It’s not a question of thousands of people keeping a secret, as you posit; but rather, the research which could possibly uncover a link is not being undertaken because there is no funding. Neither is there the political will to investigate this, because governments are implicated in the vaccination programme too, and would also stand to lose huge amounts of money and even be brought down.

    You say the research that could uncover a link is not being undertaken because there is no funding. What about the research that has been undertaken already? I link to, and discuss, the research in my emails to Sue Reid. If there is no will to investigate this, then how and why has it already been investigated?

  64. Autism parent said,

    @jdc325
    The research which has been carried out to date is primarily epidemiological in nature. I don’t believe this is sensitive enough for a condition which affects a very small percentage of the population and may well involve a number of different causative factors. What we need is thorough and objective clinical research to identify any biological mechanisms whereby vaccination could trigger autism.

  65. Isabella Thomas said,

    So we can trust the drug companies then!!!
    :
    Two former Merck employees sue the company in Pennsylvania under the ‘false claims’ act… to do with the mumps vaccine which is part of the MMR

    http://www.rescuepost.com/files/june-mumps-suit.pdf

    As for Dr. Wakefield he is in the process of suing a journalist and the British Medical Journal in Texas if all goes well. Professor Walker-Smith has taken the GMC to court this year and won his case. That is two of the three doctors who have won so far!

    It is good that Journalists are not frightened to publish these articles and are listening to parents as they were the first witnesses to their children suffering damage by the MMR vaccine and not just Autism but many other symptoms also. Some of these children are suffering in great pain every day and are on high doses of drugs to stop the pain. You can talk until the cows come home but this will not go away until justice is done. A mother whose child is damaged will never give up the fight until justice is done. NEVER

  66. Bock said,

    Isabella — I didn’t see anyone saying we could trust the drug companies. Where did you notice someone saying that?

  67. David Thrower said,

    I watched my own son regress into autism in the weeks following his vaccinations. Prior to that, he was completely healthy and developing rapidly. Today, at 25 years, he is doubly incontinent and cannot hold a pencil, let alone write, and his speech vanished in those same weeks after his vaccinations. I am delighted that Sue Reid reported on the Italian case. If some of you bloggers (wherever do you get your motivation from?) had witnessed what I saw with my son, you might think twice about what you write. Most of you have no idea what you are talking about.

  68. Chris said,

    Autism parent:

    The research which has been carried out to date is primarily epidemiological in nature. I don’t believe this is sensitive enough for a condition which affects a very small percentage of the population and may well involve a number of different causative factors.

    Then go and design a study, make sure it complies with international ethics guidelines pertaining to the use of human subjects like the Declaration of Helsinki, and then write a grant to get funding. I am sure there are several organizations that would be happy to fund such a study, you can start with the Autism Trust, and then wander over to the USA and ask SafeMinds, Generation Rescue and Autism Speaks for funds.

    I am assuming that if you know enough to declare that all of the studies done in the USA, Japan, Denmark, Canada and UK are not sufficient you have the expertise to do it properly.

    Though I am a bit baffled why you are looking at teeny tiny effects, when it is quite clear that measles actually causes injury at much greater rates.

  69. mrsP said,

    @ Autism Parent

    I doubt if drug companies would collapse without profits from vaccines. But I do not know the figures and the only one I could find was that profits from vaccines account for under 2%. However again, the massive implausibility of an huge international conspiracy is overwhelmingly convincing.

    Again you are not looking at evidence. I accept that there is a rare risk of complication from vaccines, but you cannot then “leap” to saying vaccines cause autism. You cannot leap, you need scientific evidence as I described.

    The risk/benefit of vaccines is overwhelmingly in the favour of vaccination. Sad if you are the one in a million * with severe adverse effects and unfortunately this is the price we pay for herd immunity and such people should be compensated of course.

    *http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm#mmr

  70. Chris said,

    mrsP:

    I doubt if drug companies would collapse without profits from vaccines.

    Especially since the present measles outbreak in Europe has a hospitalization rate of one in four cases. Having had a child go through surgery recently in a hospital, I noticed that there was no shortage of pharmaceutical being employed.

    Which makes me wonder why some think it is more cost effective to not give children two MMR vaccines, and just live with the resulting distress, disabilities and deaths from the diseases. That just does not make sense. Especially since my kid suffered seizures and disability with an actual disease.

  71. Jim said,

    @Paul Lawrence Hayes

    It’s perfectly logical I’m afraid. I’ve been going to doctor’s for years with proof that I was ill in the form of medical tests done by them written in black and white and they denied that I had a problem. In other words, I had proof and they ignored it. On that basis, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to think that they are similarly ignoring proof of the causes of other illnesses such as MMR causing autism.

    I think we’re being conned by a lot of these so-called doctors into believing their stories but in fact their “proof” rests on very shaky ground. They are ignoring significant and very important avenues of inquiry for their own selfish reasons.

    Inoculations do cause very severe reactions in some people and I am in no doubt they cause less obvious but no less real reactions in others which are not immediately apparent or related to them. Follow up of the health of children in the aftermath of inoculations is non-existent and problems which could and should be linked to inoculations never are.

    I’m pretty sure the truth will come out eventually but the medical fraternity and the pharmaceutical companies will fight it tooth and nail.

  72. Jim said,

    @Bock

    I believe I have some evidence but it’s not published as of yet. You’ll hear all about it when it is.

  73. Bock said,

    Jim, let me get this straight. One or more doctors misdiagnosed your problem and therefore all doctors are untrustworthy. Is that what you’re saying?

  74. Bock said,

    Wait, sorry. You were only quoting another chap. Apologies — I misread that.

    on the substantive issue, you seem to be saying you have no evidence. Is that corect?

  75. Sara Moroza-James said,

    Not all children tolerate penicillin or paracetomol. Some children even have fatal allergies to peanuts!!! Who in their right mind would think that every child on the planet had an immune system robust enough for 3 live vaccines. Of course it’s nonsense. Of course some children’s immune systems cannot respond in the anticipated way. (I wish I had thought like this before giving the MMR to my son and then watching him disappear into autism).

  76. ChildHealthSafety said,

    David Thrower said [June 24, 2012 at 7:02 pm]

    “If some of you bloggers (wherever do you get your motivation from?) had witnessed what I saw with my son, you might think twice about what you write. Most of you have no idea what you are talking about.”

    Well said.

    But unfortunately they probably do know what they say is false but still say it. You ask of them “wherever do you get your motivation from?”

    In jdc325’s case it seems to be an evening and weekend sport for a former unemployed barman and administrator.

    He gives out-of-date measles statistics from the 1950s and 1960s as if they applied today and is part of the Goldacre etc posse who infest the internet with misinformation.

  77. Tim West said,

    It is astonishing that the science on this is so badly mis and under-reported. Well done Sue for your patient efforts. In my experience those that dismiss the side effects of vaccination or gloss over the extreme paucity of evidence that it has been of positive use to mankind operate quasi-religiously. The facts are never studied. A repeated reliance on ‘authority’ is the only response. I fear that as in the case of smoking, the industry will keep the issue clouded for decades before its widely understood that this awful medieval non-science has no place in a rational world.

  78. Bock said,

    I’m thinking of challenging Newton’s laws of gravitation in an Italian court. What do you reckon?

  79. Autism parent said,

    @Chris
    I am an autism parent. How would I possibly have the time or skill to ‘design a study’? Clearly top scientists would be needed for this. And I don’t call autism a ‘teeny tiny effect’. The fact that it affects a relatively small (though rapidly growing) percentage of the population from an epidemiological point of view doesn’t make it any the less devastating, believe you me.
    @Mrs P
    If it is correct that vaccinations cause autism, then the risk is far far higher than one in a million – more like one in 88, and the odds are increasing all the time. I’ve already said why I believe there’s no ‘scientific evidence’ – yet. And if the vaccination programme collapsed, the pharmaceutical companies would be hit not only by the loss of revenue, but also by the massive compensation claims – a double whammy.
    I’m sure that last century lots of people found the idea of a ‘huge international conspiracy’ about the safety of asbestos to be implausible, too.

  80. Paul Lawrence Hayes said,

    @Jim

    Presumably that non sequitur of a response is “perfectly logical” too? It does at least answer my question.

  81. Peter Vintner (@pvandck) said,

    This “Italian Court” decision is being spun and bandied about like the “Swiss Government” report on homeopathy… as something it is not. In this case the Court dedcision does not, indeed cannot, establish a causal link between autism spectrum disorders and MMR vaccination. Matters of scienticic fact are not decided by Judges in courts of law. They are decided by experimentation, observation, analysis, experimentation… etc. and peer review. All this latest decision does is say there was likely a temporal association between the vaccination and the child’s condition. It simply does not and cannot say more than that. The verdict would have been the same had it been any other type of vaccination. Every Western Country has a vaccination compensation scheme, just for this purpose.

    And courts do get decisions wrong too, which is why there is always an appeals procedure. In this case there is unlikely to be an appeal, for compassionate reasons. And anyone who knows the Italian justice system will also know why most Italians have no faith in it. I’d say that it’s quite likely, though not certain, that the Judge in this case has never heard of St Andrew of Wakefield, nor about that money-grubbing scumbag’s fraudulent “research” and the resulting preventable disease epidemics.

    This story btw isn’t exactly big here in Italy. In fact it has barely caused aripple.. And it’s only being spun in the UK to bolster the circulation of anti-democratic rags like the Daily Heil. It is a tried and tested formula after all.

    Paediatricic neurologists I know here, and I know one or two, have rubbished any suggested link between MMR and autism. But given they see disabled kids by the hundreds every week, and contribute directly to research in this area and others, what could they possibly know? There has been a great amount of research in this particular area. But apart from anything else though, rates of autism diagnosis don’t correlate with MMR uptake or any other vaccination rate in populations.

    My own personal view is this is a scandalously irresponsible and ignorant piece of reporting by the Daily Mail. But it’s not surprising or out of character.

    As far as Andy Burnham is concerned, I’m sure he will already know that no new evidence was presented during the course of the trial. But he’s a politician and has to speak like one. No new evidence has come to light anywhere that supports any hypothesis that MMR or any other vaccination causes autism. So far, all such hypotheses have been based on no evidence. Which brings me back to the similarity to homeopathy. Alternative reality is always a favourite of mendacious tabloid rags looking to boost circulation among victims of ignorance.

  82. Jim said,

    @Bock

    What I’m saying is that the medical profession is probably failing to diagnose problems in the majority of the population. Conveniently, however, in doing so they ensure a client base with enough chronic conditions to keep them and the pharmaceutical industry in jobs. You may feel that they do a sterling job of treating people with evidenced based medicine but that’s what they want you to think. They don’t want you to realise that you’re being sold a lot of half-truths along with all the prescription drugs, drugs which may provide short term relief from symptoms but in fact cause far worse long term problems that the problems they’re supposed to treat.

    I obediently went to my doctor’s too for more than 4 decades of my life and hoped that they would diagnose my problems and cure them. Sadly, nothing was further from the truth. Fortunately for me, I managed to get the bottom of my own problem before it killed me. Sadly, millions of people haven’t been so lucky over the years.

  83. Jim said,

    @ChildHealthSafety

    “In jdc325′s case it seems to be an evening and weekend sport for a former unemployed barman and administrator.”

    Ha, well qualified to be an idiot with a keyboard then! Enough said, I think.

  84. Bock said,

    Jim — I can’t see anything in your argument that establishes a connection between MMR and autism, which, unless I’m wrong, is the subject of this post.

  85. Autism parent said,

    @pvandck
    In fact, there has already been an appeal in the Italian case, in which the court’s original decision was upheld.
    I agree that this ruling could apply to other types of vaccination too – I believe they could all trigger autism in a susceptible baby. And as for the vaccination compensation scheme, in the UK no case of autism is ever considered – how can that be right? It’s accepted that vaccination can cause myriad neurological impairments, but never autism?

  86. Bock said,

    Jim, when you quote this:

    “Ha, well qualified to be an idiot with a keyboard then! Enough said, I think.”

    I think you diminish your case.

    Would it not make more sense to deal with the points made instead of playing the man?

    Even if he is a former barman, he might still be correct. Or are former barmen by definition always wrong?

  87. Jim said,

    @Bock

    I’m not offering any evidence of a link between MMR and autism. Nowhere have I said that I would. My suspicion is that MMR is an aggravating factor in the development of autism in some children, i.e. one catalyst in a range of possible catalysts. The common factor is likely to be in vitamin and mineral deficiencies or in genetic vitamin and mineral malabsorption syndromes.

    You may or may not be aware that inoculations increase a child’s requirements for vitamins and minerals because, of course, they are actually being injected with the disease they are supposed to develop antibodies to. Unsurprisingly, any vitamin or mineral deficiencies in a child given an inoculation are likely to be exacerbated and this could well be severe enough to cause developmental problems.

    GPs and even hospital consultants are simply not competent when it comes to diagnosing vitamin and mineral deficiencies as I’ve found to my cost. It’s hardly surprising then that they may well have overlooked their significance in the development of autism spectrum disorders, ADHD and other chronic conditions.

    We are not being well served by the medical/scientific community in these respects I can assure you.

  88. Paul Lawrence Hayes said,

    @Autism parent

    “How would I possibly have the time or skill to ‘design a study’?”

    A silly notion indeed. Not unlike the idea that you might have the skills needed to criticise those already done and contradict the inferences drawn from them by the top scientists who did them, perhaps?. On a more positive note, if you can find just 20 hours, there is something you could do to improve your understanding of the issues…

    http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=3591

  89. Bock said,

    Jim — Are you saying you have no evidence to link MMR with autism?

  90. Jim said,

    @Bock

    If he wishes to be taken seriously he should provide a serious biography. It’s fairly obvious that he is not to be taken seriously IMHO. I tried to find out a little about his background and experience for blogging on scientific matters but found nothing at all other than his, no doubt, self-effacing description. If his real background is bar tending and administration then it’s clear he’s not qualified to blog on scientific matters. All this amounts to is a personal opinion and crusade hanging on the coat tails of real scientists and adds nothing to the debate.

    He’s also playing a rather dangerous game mixing it with a journalist who has resources to bury him should she decide to call him out unless some white knight swoops in to pay his legal fees. To be quite frank, I doubt anyone would as he would have been the architect of his own misfortunes and people like that have genuine cases to deal with.

  91. Jim said,

    @Bock

    I believe I’ve answered this question which you’ve now asked twice. Try reading my answer again and do get back to me if it’s unclear in any respect.

  92. just a mum said,

    @Chris: “Do tell us what the comparable risks of neurological damage from the MMR versus measles, mumps and rubella.”

    I would LOVE to hear the stats on that. But at present NOT ONE of the many, many children who I know who were damaged by vaccines is counted in the ‘risks’ side. When I see ALL of those kids I personally know investigated and counted in the figures I will start paying attention to attempts at comparing the two. Until then vaccine ‘science’ is as credible as tobacco (or asbestos) science.

    “Provide the title, journal and dates of the PubMed indexed papers to support your statements that MMR vaccination carries risks above that of the diseases.”

    —– Chris, I wish you would not keep putting words in my mouth. I never made that statement, and as I said above I would love to hear credible, honest figures on the risks and outcomes, especially risks and outcomes in subgroups of children (for example those with history of family autoimmune disease, history of pregnancy infections and complications etc).

    I also know several people whose children died following vaccines, including deaths from MMR. They are not counted in ANY stats. Therefore whatever figures are given at the moment to compare the risks are NOT honest or credible. We can only keep guessing at the true state of affairs…

    What I would really like to see (and this is for the benefit of casual reader, if any would scroll this far, as I don’t think at this point you are able to really hear what I am trying to say and will continue to distort my words), I would really like to see large scale research that would establish individual child’s risk to neurological damage/autism from BOTH vaccines and from wild infections. I know those happen, and I know children who regressed into autism and related disorders following natural infections. I also know that perinatal infections can cause neurological damage and autism, and they can ALSO cause skewing up of the immune system in the foetus, leaving it in a chronic pro-inflammatory over-reactive but ultimately non-efficient state (anyone interested in this keep an eye out for research coming out of Germany shortly). We can only keep guessing what further damage a live vaccine, possibly grown on cell lines teeming with replication-competent retroviruses, will do to such a vulnerable individual.

    If live infections are capable of damaging a child, does that mean vaccines are off the hook and we should pump every child with live vaccines, giving them 3, 5, 9 in one sitting? If child’s immune system is sub-functional, for whatever reason, pumping them full of live viruses is NOT a good idea whichever way you spin it. Look what happens with HIV+ kids who are given live polio vaccine: they don’t develop immunity and that very vaccine strain is found alive and well replicating and causing mucosal damage in their guts DECADES after ‘immunisation’ event. Are some children susceptible to damage by live viruses? Very likely. Is pumping them with live vaccines straight into bloodstream (without precautions and follow ups and meds to prop up their immune system and ensure the vaccine doesn’t backfire) a bright idea? Not by a long shot!! You are only setting a stage for more damage.

    This is not a black and white world and there are no black and white answers. To make matters worse science at the moment is too corrupt and/or too scared to look these problems in the eye and start coming up with solutions.

  93. Bock said,

    Jim — If a person is being logical, it matters not a jot whether he happens to be a milkman or a professor of nuclear physics. A legitimate question is a legitimate question no matter who poses it.

    Isn’t that true?

    Otherwise, we’d have to demand academic details from everyone, including you and me. We don’t have to acquire a qualification in order to ask questions about the important things in life. If we did, many intelligent people would be excluded and that would make no sense at all.

    A question is a question, no matter who poses it, and if that question has validity, it deserves an answer. Isn’t that true?

  94. Autism parent said,

    @Paul Lawrence Hayes
    I am not a scientist and never claimed to be. However, I don’t want to live in a society in which everybody accepts current scientific opinion as fact and never questions the prevailing wisdom. Science is continually evolving, what is the latest research one year can be disproved the next, and it is only by questioning and challenging that we move forward. I believe I am just as well qualified as the next person to question and challenge.
    As for the link you sent me, I can think of an infinite number of better ways to spend my time than studying this kind of propaganda. It’s just another example of the extent to which the pharmaceuticals have infiltrated every level of our society, even the OU – scary! To save people scrolling up to search for it, here’s the link again:

    http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=3591

  95. Sara Moroza-James said,

    hmmm, when my regressed FOLLOWING HIS MMR vaccine into autism, nobody recorded it anywhere! I know of many many mums whose kids regressed following the MMR and none of them were listened to, no child was examined and NOTHING WAS RECORDED.

  96. just a mum said,

    @jdc325: “my relevant interests here are in public health, the discussion of evidence in reporting of health issues, and the seriousness of measles.”

    Nice to know! It would be ever nicer to know that your interests also include the seriousness of autism. The fact that a child with autism is 12 times more like to DIE BEFORE REACHING ADULTHOOD compared to typical children. A child with autism has 1 in 5 chance of developing serious epilepsy. If you are interested in reporting health issues, how about reporting on the seriousness of the the issue of children and adults with autism suffering a much, much higher prevalence of many serious diseases, including cardivascular, cancers, not to mention gastrointestinal, autoimmune, severe allergies and so on. What is worse, these problems are under-recognised – there is a painful lack of awareness amongst medics, and horrifying lack of treatment options.

    What is more there is plenty of scientific evidence on all this. Very clear, unambiguous findings. Dozens and dozens of quality studies that go mainly unreported and ignored. Our children are left to suffer in silence, ignored by the health providers.

    It would make one hell of public health reporting don’t you think?! It would make you a real star. Go on please, do report!

  97. ChildHealthSafety said,

    jdc325 simply misrepresents the “science”.

    That vaccines cause autistic condition has been admitted by the US Health Resources Services Administration in writing to CBS News. It has been admitted by Julie Gerberding on US national broadcast television over the Hannah Poling case but claiming that Hannah Poling’s mitochondrial dysfunction is rare when it is not. The US Federal “Vaccine” Court has awarded compensation in cases where vaccines have caused autistic conditions.

    Whenever these matters are put to people like jdc325 they have no answer for it.

    The source references and links can be found in this CHS article:
    Vaccination Causes Autism – Say US Government & Merck’s Director of Vaccines

    http://tinyurl.com/26kju9m

    And the first known cause of autism is rubella virus and that cause has been known since the 1960s. So live viruses are a known cause of autism and MMR has not just one but three of them.

    So if jdc325 wants to claim he has scientific evidence that vaccines do not cause autistic conditions he has his work cut out for him.

    But the problem is that jdc325 knows all of the above but still engages in his misinformation.

    So the question is why would any normal person do that?

  98. mrsP said,

    I don’t know which is worse, England just losing or the anti vax dangerous nonsense.

  99. Isabella Thomas said,

    mrsp

    How can you state that parents of vaccine damage children are anti vaccine when they gave their children the vaccines?
    Anti damage yes.

  100. Chris said,

    just a mum:

    I also know several people whose children died following vaccines, including deaths from MMR. They are not counted in ANY stats.

    Wait? No one noticed? Surely that is something that was recorded.

    Ms. Moroza-James, so your doctor did not listen to you? Just like all those children who died after being vaccinated.

    Still, it would be nice to see how autism skyrocketed in the USA after the MMR was introduced there in 1971. Surely someone noticed.

    Also, the USA is a much larger country with a system to report vaccine reactions, including death, that anyone can submit. So if there were several deaths from the MMR someone would notice? By the way there have been a little over a thousand claims in death over the last twenty three years, but it is hard to see how many of those were compensated.

    just a mum:

    If live infections are capable of damaging a child, does that mean vaccines are off the hook and we should pump every child with live vaccines, giving them 3, 5, 9 in one sitting?

    Except the “live” vaccines are severely weakened, and many of the other vaccines only have bits and pieces of the pathogen. One is not even made of the virus, but the particular bit is grown from a yeast.

    Autism mum, I am sorry, but when you were claiming that several large studies were not adequate I thought you knew what you were talking about. And I did not say “autism was teeny tiny”, I meant that the numbers of children that would have some special reaction is teeny tiny, and are often seen in post license surveillance.

    just a mum:

    I would really like to see large scale research that would establish individual child’s risk to neurological damage/autism from BOTH vaccines and from wild infections.

    Well, then design a study, make sure it complies in ethics rules on human research, get it funded and go do it. Because I am sure the scientific world would love to see how you would accomplish that. Would you do some kind of extensive allergy testing? Require a full genetic scan? Call in a psychic?

  101. Jim said,

    @Bock

    But any idiot can say “I agree with the scientists, if you don’t where’s your proof.” Indeed, many idiots to as evinced by posts here and elsewhere on the ‘net. It’s called an appeal to authority and is a dead end argument.

    The interesting thing is that when scientific hypotheses are questioned in court, as in this case in Italy, very often these hypotheses fall flat because lawyers and judges are trained to evaluate evidence and where there’s insufficient evidence, i.e. in many scientific hypotheses, they rule that the hypotheses are false.

    Many an expert scientific expert has been crucified by a decent barrister who exposes their hypotheses for the flim flam they are. The mere fact that other scientists agree with the flim flam holds no ice in a court of law.

    Ultimately, some children are damaged by vaccines, others are killed by diseases but all of this is scant comfort to the parents involved. They have to trust the doctors. From my perspective, increasingly, such trust is often, sadly, misplaced.

  102. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Chris [June 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm]

    said “… it would be nice to see how autism skyrocketed in the USA after the MMR was introduced there in 1971. Surely someone noticed.”

    MMR I was first licensed in the US in the early 1970s. But it was not widely used until 1984.

    Autism rates started to increase.

  103. No vax said,

    Thanks sue, living hell , dealing with autism day in day out if I had one wish I would go back and never vaccinate my kids I would have listened and not been hoodwinked into beleiving that doctors know best, where are they now? Not treating our children…. Thankfully some people have the balls to report on what people will not believe is happening. All my love xxxxx

  104. dazmel said,

    As parents of a severely autistic son, We would stake our lives on the fact that the MMR jab caused our sons condition. He went from a “normal” healthy little boy hitting his development targets and having wonderful speech, to taking the jab and waking the next morning a different child. He has been unable to speak, feed himself, have any eye contact or function on his own in this world since. You tell me that that can happen over night? It has robbed our son of a life and I pray for the day its proven!

  105. mrsP said,

    Back to the grind @ Autism Parent

    You say that there is no scientific evidence. Depending on what you meant there is much strong evidence that vaccines are effective, are safe and that MMR does not cause autism. Have a look at the papers given below.

    http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4026.pdf

    @ Jim What vaccines contain live viruses? I thought most were killed or attenuated, and immunity is not caused by getting the disease from vaccination. Vaccines are not strong enough to cause disease, but strong enough to stimulate the production of antibodies to give immunity.

    Also contraindications to various vaccinations are known and adhered to. However we need all the other healthy kids to get vaccinated to protect the vulnerable. A healthy child can cope with multiple immunisations, producing millions of antibodies each day to various attacks from natural sources.

  106. mrsP said,

    @Isabella Thompson

    You may not be anti vax, but there is a lot of anti vax nonsense on this thread. But if you are offended I apologise and blame andy cole.

  107. Bock said,

    Jim — Do you seriously believe that scientific conclusions can be reached in a court of law? If so, we have no basis for discussion. You’ve reached a point of absurdity where we can dispense with scientists and rely instead on lawyers. Next time my computer breaks down, who should I call? If I have a heart attack, should I forget about calling my doctor and phone a barrister instead? Has the legal profession become the new leader of technology?

    I look forward to seeing what exciting new developments the lawyers produce.

  108. mrsP said,

    @ Isabella Thomas sorry I got your name wrong. I did not say that parents of children with autism are anti vax, I simply stated my perception that there is a lot of anti vax nonsense on this thread.

    And again I ask where is the evidence that vaccines cause autism? There is plenty that it does not.

  109. Autism parent said,

    @mrsP
    At the risk of repeating myself, virtually all research into the link between MMR and autism to date is based on epidemiological studies, not clinical research. And, I know this question is directed at Jim, but the answer is: the MMR contains live viruses.
    When you say, we need healthy kids vaccinated to protect the vulnerable, what I would like to know is, how do you identify vulnerable children at such an early age? Children are 2 months old when they’re given their first vaccinations. How can anyone possibly tell that they don’t have some kind of allergy or sensitivity to any of the weird and wonderful vaccine ingredients – formaldehyde, mercury, chick embryonic fluid, aborted fetal tissue, albumin etc. And how can you be sure that their immune system is strong enough to cope with multiple viruses? It’s playing Russian roulette with our babies.

  110. Chris said,

    CHS:

    MMR I was first licensed in the US in the early 1970s. But it was not widely used until 1984.

    Citation needed. Make sure it comes from the CDC.

    Especially in regards to which vaccines were used in the Measles Elimination Program:

    In 1978, a program was undertaken to eliminate indigenous measles in the United States; the use of combined vaccines, either measles-rubella (MR) vaccine or measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine was encouraged.

    Also, where are those numbers showing autism increasing in the USA starting in 1984? Or better yet, 1978? Do share the title, journal and date of the PubMed indexed papers, and do not post any links to your poorly written badly formatted veracity challenged blog. Thank you.

  111. Chris said,

    Autism parent:

    And how can you be sure that their immune system is strong enough to cope with multiple viruses?

    Then how do they even survive being born? Or being exposed to the world?

  112. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Chris [June 24, 2012 at 10:26 pm]

    You want a citation?

    First you provide a citation for your implied assertion that the MMR vaccine was first used so widely from 1972 that we would expect to see an increase in autism them. As a reminder this is what you wrote: “Still, it would be nice to see how autism skyrocketed in the USA after the MMR was introduced there in 1971. Surely someone noticed. ”

    You first please.

  113. Autism parent said,

    @Chris
    There’s a difference between a young child’s natural exposure to viruses in the environment and having them injected all at the same time into the bloodstream.

  114. Another autism mom said,

    Chris: it would be nice if you would recognize that when people say ‘vaccines’ they don’t mean only the MMR. My child was given a few dozen vaccines. M, M, R being only a part of that. And as it has been widely pointed out here, adverse reactions, including death, are very rarely reported. In fact, in our case, my son’s doctor felt that my son’s decline into terrible health, complete loss of language, inability to sleep, gastrointestinal problems, etc, etc, were likely a result of us moving. I might have agreed with him, had we left our son behind to fend for himself in the woods, but actually, when we moved, we took him with us. So, someone who has taken an oath to protect my child’s health offers us that amazingly stupid ‘explanation’ as to what happened to a child who used to speak, laugh, learn, and enjoy his family. Do I know for sure that vaccines were part of what damaged my child? No. But none of you know for sure that they didn’t. And anyone with a bit of decency would think that the many many losses my son has had to endure deserve honest investigation.

  115. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Chris [June 24, 2012 at 10:29 pm]

    Said regarding newborn children and multiple viruses “Then how do they even survive being born? Or being exposed to the world?”.

    We are now on the strawman arguments. Chris wants to broaden the issues to escape answering evidence already provided.

    The issue is vaccines cause autistic conditions.

    Evidence has been provided that it is acknowledged by the US CDC, the US HRSA and the US Federal “Vaccine” Court that they do.

  116. Jim said,

    @Bock

    As you please.

    It’s perfectly possible for scientists to believe a hypothesis the evidence for which wouldn’t meet the balance of probability needed in a court of law wouldn’t you say? If you disagree with that statement then it’s you being absurd. The evidential basis for a scientific judgement versus a legal judgement are clearly two different things. They may converge for some hypotheses where the evidence meet the balance of probabilities test and diverge where they don’t.

    As far as a lay person is concerned, I would say that, if a scientific hypothesis fails to convince a judge on the balance of probabilities then it’s perfectly reasonable for a lay person to be highly sceptical of the hypothesis. It’s also perfectly reasonable for scientists to remain convinced of the validity of their hypothesis because even though there’s insufficient evidence their experience may be enough to sway their opinions in favour of believing the hypothesis. The issue is: should the general public also be minded to so believe such a hypothesis and should governments act on them too, compelling members of the public to take certain potentially risky actions or spend large sums of tax payers’ money.

    In my view, in at least one area in my direct experience, tax payers’ money is being spent on doctors who are failing to diagnose patients, leaving them suffering unnecessarily from easily and cheaply preventable, treatable illness and at risk of developing far more serious long term illnesses. This situation has come about because government accepted poor medical science presented to them and acted upon it thereby condemning perhaps millions of people to long term ill-health and premature death.

    As I have already intimated, I feel that blindly accepting the word of scientists and their so-called consensus is potentially an extremely risky and expensive gamble. I for one am no longer prepared to do so having narrowly escaped death but not without permanent physical damage and severe impact on my life. Your mileage may vary.

  117. Isabella Thomas said,

    mrsP

    The damaged children are the evidence. The parents are the witnesses. The studies did not look at any of the sick children. The medical establishment have not studied the sick children. The damaged children are very sick with symptoms of bowel damage, fevers, rashes,severe headaches, severe pain, visual problems, severe reflux, reactions to medications, immune problems and brain damage to name but a few. How many special needs schools are there now? Teachers in mainstream classes who cannot cope because they have no time to help special needs children. This is a major epidemic of sick children in this country and other countries and the most frightening thing is that these children have the same symptoms in each country. parents all over the world have said it is the vaccine no matter what age the children had the MMR vaccine they became very ill. Some within hours. I know of a boy who had the MMR vaccine in his teens and changed over night. They found the vaccine strain measles virus in his brain where he had a biopsy done at GOSH as he could not stop fitting. Are you saying that parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, are all lying? One of my sons had a reaction within hours of having the MMR vaccine with high pitch screaming, this is not a normal cry but a cry of a baby in intense pain. I still hear that scream in my head every day as that is when I lost part of him . I reply the day in my head wondering if i could have done more to save him from the damage he was going through. I can still see the pleading in his eyes between his tears. That will haunt me for the rest of my life and would you believe when I phoned the surgery and spoke to the nurse she said ‘pull yourself together Mrs Thomas, some babies do that’ My husband and older son witnessed this crying. Are they lying? The nurse heard the screaming over the phone but was so brainwashed that MMR does not cause problems that she decided he would recover without seeing him. I saw the burns rash all over his body the following week, the doctor saw the burns rash all over his body, the doctor took his temperature which was very high. Is he saying the baby made up these symptoms? The children are the walking proof and I bet if you tested them I would not be surprised if they have the vaccine strain measles virus in their blood stream. Don’t just take my word for it look at the children who are suffering. Ask yourself WHY? Why are these children being ignored? Why are they left in pain? If a child had natural measles it would be all over the news yet there are more reactions to the MMR vaccine yet it is not a red alert.

  118. Jim said,

    @Isabella Thomas

    I had what I think was a measles vaccination in 1968. That same day I had febrile convulsions. My father thought it was as a result of the vaccination and I also believe that now. I believe I have suffered ill-health all my life as a result of that and the treatment I then received. I rather wish I’d taken my chances with measles at a later stage in my development when, perhaps, my immune system could have coped better with the vaccination. It’s too late now to do anything about it though.

  119. Isabella Thomas said,

    Jim,

    I am so sorry you suffered but thank god it was not a whole lot worse. I often wonder why some children react to vaccines and others do not. I wish there was research into this question as there may be a predisposition in the children who do react. It is shocking what is happening with Merck at the moment. I was reading the 50 page report
    The report states regarding the MMR vaccine:
    Merck has sold the government a vaccine that (1) is mislabeled, misbranded, adulterated and falsely certified and (ii) does not comply with the FDA’s labelling, reporting,and testing requirements: with the CDC’s reporting requirements; with the c-GMP standards required by the CDC contract and the FDA; and with the requirements of the National Vaccine Program to report any vaccine failure.

    If you want some bedtime reading the link is:

    http://www.rescuepost.com/files/june-mumps-suit.pdf

    So ask yourself would you trust Merck with the safety of the MMR vaccine itself or the parents who have their child’s best interests at heart?

    Money v sick children

    Who would you pick?

  120. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Acleron (@Acleron1) [June 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm]

    said to jdc325 “There is nothing you have said that could be the basis of a libel action.”

    Maybe James jdc325 has not included all of his email exchanges? That is the usual form.

    Sue Reid is an excellent journalist and a professional who produced a balanced well report article – reporting facts. It was not an opinion piece. jdc325 did not like seeing the facts reported

    So he posts this post and the usual suspects jump in to disparage a professional doing a professional job.

    The bottom line on the Italian Court decision is that The Italian Health Minstry did not contest the expert evidence. There was no other explanation for the Italian child’s autism. It was the MMR vaccine.

    All the rest of the comments that it was not are just fluff.

  121. ChrisP said,

    Autism parent, vaccines are not injected into the bloodstream. Any argument that makes such claims is wrong.

  122. Chris said,

    Autism parent:

    There’s a difference between a young child’s natural exposure to viruses in the environment and having them injected all at the same time into the bloodstream.

    What vaccines are given in the bloodstream? If you are going to dictate what research is good or not, you should at least learn some of the basics.

    Of course, the natural measles virus is more dangerous than the MMR, mumps is more dangerous than the MMR, the actual rotavirus infection is worse than either rotavirus vaccine, the natural polio virus is more dangerous than the IPV, an Hib infection more dangerous than the polysaccharide-protein bits that make up the Hib vaccine, and diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis are much more dangerous than the DTaP.

    Obviously if a child cannot endure the weakened virus, the bits of bacteria and inactivated toxoids, then they will suffer a great deal more with the actual diseases. I know because I have a kid who had seizures from an actual disease and is permanently disabled.

    In short: measles is dangerous, and there is no real science showing the MMR causes autism. Until you come up with some real evidence, it will remain that way.

  123. Chris said,

    CHS:

    First you provide a citation for your implied assertion that the MMR vaccine was first used so widely from 1972

    So you are going to ignore the 1978 Measles Elimination Program, and the quote showing that the combined vaccines, especially the MMR, was encouraged?

    What I have been asking is for the data that Wakefield used to determine that the MMR was dangerous, since it had been used for more than twenty years before he published his now retracted paper. I am only asking for papers dating before 1997, so if there was an increase in 1984 like you said, then it be documented.

  124. Chris said,

    Because without the date from twenty years of MMR use in the USA that Wakefield used to initiate his study, the only thing left is the cash offered to him by a lawyer. And wasn’t that supposed to support the lawsuits of kids injured by the Urabe mumps component of two of the MMR vaccines?

  125. Chris said,

    “Because without the date” should be “Because without the data”.

    And CHS needs to provide the citations to autism increasing sharply in the 1980s.

  126. Isabella Thomas said,

    Dr. Wakefield did not say that MMR caused Autism in the Lancet study. The study was about bowel disease in Autistic children. He said the parents all related the MMR vaccine to the child’s symptoms (these parents did not know each other at that time) It was not research into MMR vaccine.
    He said we need to bring back the single vaccines as a choice and the MMR vaccine needed investigation.He did however go on with larger studies in this vulnerable until the government got nervous.
    Parents were reporting this long before Dr. Wakefield came on the scene.

    Did you know when 2,000 parents took the drug companies to court and legal aid was stopped I wondered why. The documents were sealed. I did find out by someone in a high position who saw the document that the government had legally protected the drug companies against damage.so if the parents had won who would have paid compensation?

  127. ChrisP said,

    Isabella Thomes,

    You are right,… and wrong.

    Wakefield did not say that MMR caused autism in the Lancet paper, he said so in the accompanying press interview.

    Of course Wakefield wanted single vaccines, he had a patent on one.

  128. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Chris [June 25, 2012 at 12:58 am]

    said regarding use of MMR vaccine prior to 1984 that the following allegation meant MMR vaccine was widely used prior to 1984:

    “the use of combined vaccines, either measles-rubella (MR) vaccine or measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine was encouraged”

    Chris, firstly, where is the citation?

    And secondly the “quote” in any event means nothing of the sort – “was encouraged” means MMR was not being used. It certainly does not mean it was used.

    Come up with the goods or admit that MMR was not in wide use until 1984 in the USA.

  129. ChrisP said,

    Oh, and one more thing Isabella Thomas. The parents of the children in the study were known to each other. Most were clients of Richard Barr and had been selected for inclusion by anti-MMR groups.

  130. just a mum said,

    @Jim:”We are now on the strawman arguments. Chris wants to broaden the issues to escape answering evidence already provided. The issue is vaccines cause autistic conditions.”

    Amen to that!

    I enjoy informed, honest, fruitful exchanges on intricacies of virology and vaccines and their effects on developing nervous and immune systems, but these exchanges here are anything but and are going nowhere. This thread has wasted too much of my time.

    I’d better devote rest of my day pulling my son out of that hell-hole of autism. Ciao.

  131. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Chris June 24, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    said “Citation needed. Make sure it comes from the CDC.”

    Oh make sure your citation does not come from the CDC. The CDC is the organisation which pays for bent studies like the Italian mercury study and is the organisation which hired Poul Thorsen – you know the Danish researcher – accused of making off with a million dollars or so of autism research funds and disappeared.

    “Dane indicted for defrauding CDC” – Atlanta Business Chronicle
    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    “A Danish man was indicted Wednesday on charges of wire fraud and money laundering for allegedly concocting a scheme to steal more than $1 million in autism research money from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

    The indictment charges Poul Thorsen, 49, with 13 counts of wire fraud and nine counts of money laundering. The wire fraud counts each carry a maximum of 20 years in prison and the money laundering counts each carry a maximum of 10 years in prison, with a fine of up to $250,000 for each count.”

    http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2011/04/13/dane-indicted-for-defrauding-cdc.html

  132. ChildHealthSafety said,

    ChrisP [June 25, 2012 at 7:27 am]

    Naughty ChrisP – you should not accuse people of lying and you should produce evidence to back up such a serious allegation.

    You said “Oh, and one more thing Isabella Thomas. The parents of the children in the study were known to each other. Most were clients of Richard Barr and had been selected for inclusion by anti-MMR groups.”

    You are obviously so well informed that you must know that Isabella Thomas is one of the parents. She has stated directly that at the time the parents did not know each other.

    You claim they were all clients of Richard Barr – so where is your citation for that? [And Brian Deer is not a reliable source.]

    And even if they were you make the enormous leap to assume that they must then have known each other. That is a complete and total non sequitur.

    So if you are going to claim Isabella Thomas is lying you had better make good with some solid evidence pretty quickly or apologise on your knees.

  133. ChildHealthSafety said,

    ChrisP [June 25, 2012 at 7:21 am]

    said “Wakefield did not say that MMR caused autism in the Lancet paper, he said so in the accompanying press interview.”

    Citation needed.

    [And you won't find one because he did not say that.]

    Strawman or clutching at straws?

  134. Autism parent said,

    @Chris
    Intramuscular and subcutaneous injections enable the vaccine to get into the bloodstream very quickly. The reason there is (as yet) no science linking vaccinations to autism is that there is no political will to look for a link. The children who have developed autism following vaccination have not been studied; all we have is epidemiology. As just a mum has said, this is tobacco (or asbestos) science.

  135. Angus Files said,

    Thanks Sue,many thanks from the many families I know with autism /vaccine damage …Thanks you again!!

    Angus Files…who is James it aint baby Murdoch he cant write..

  136. ChrisP said,

    ChildHealthSafety, if you were at all literate you would know that I have not accused anyone of lying. I have dealt with claims made by other posters that are not correct. The only persons who have used the word ‘lying’ on this page are yourself and Isabella Thomas – until now.

    If Isabella Thomas wants to continue to claim that none of the parents knew who any of the other parents were before their children were ‘enrolled’ in the study, she would be wrong. The GMC transcript has one parent stating she was sent to Wakefield by another parent who already had children in the study.

    As for the citation to Wakefield’s claim, you should watch the video interview released by the Royal Free Hospital in February 1998 and dated 2nd February.

  137. mrsP said,

    @Autism Parent

    I sympathise with your child and all the hard work you must put in caring. However this is irrelevant to the matter in hand – does MMR cause autism? You do not accept the evidence that it does not and there is nothing more I can do to persuade you.

    Care for autistic children and adults is patchy – my cousins child has brilliant care and she is in her 40s and severely affected. More could be done I accept to help those suffering, but at present there are 11 (I think) research projects being undertaken by the MRC in the UK and underlying science research is ongoing too.

  138. Paul Lawrence Hayes said,

    @Autism parent

    “I believe I am just as well qualified as the next person to question and challenge.”

    Yes – evidently you do – and it’s highly ironic:

    http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/booth/Vaccines/MMRUK.html

    and has put you, with many other of the commenters here, beyond the reach of reason and science.

  139. ChildHealthSafety said,

    ChrisP [June 25, 2012 at 9:31 am]

    said

    “ChildHealthSafety, if you were at all literate”

    So we are now on the stage of insults. That is the stage prior to blocking our comments.

    “you would know that I have not accused anyone of lying.”

    That ChrisP is the direct implication of what you have said.

    “The only persons who have used the word ‘lying’ on this page are yourself …..”

    But we have not accused anyone of lying. You have done so by implication.

    “The GMC transcript has one parent stating she was sent to Wakefield by another parent who already had children in the study.”

    !) Citation required and 2) “one parent” does not justify your implication that Isabella Thomas is lying. You said “The parents of the children in the study were known to each other. Most were clients of Richard Barr and had been selected for inclusion by anti-MMR groups.”

    So where is your citation to back up your claim that all the parents knew each other? You don’t have one.

    So you should apologise on your knees.

    Can you provide a citation link or whatever to the video to which you refer here. It would be helpful to see exactly what was said:

    “As for the citation to Wakefield’s claim, you should watch the video interview released by the Royal Free Hospital in February 1998 and dated 2nd February.”

  140. Autism parent said,

    @Paul Lawrence Hayes
    This study is based on epidemiology, not clinical research. You can’t provide a link to any clinical research studies, because there aren’t any. Asbestos science.

  141. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Paul Lawrence Hayes [June 25, 2012 at 9:55 am]

    seems to think that tobacco science puts @Autism parent “beyond the reach of reason and science.”

    But fails to deal with the citations and evidence previously provided here that vaccines cause autistic condition has been admitted by the US Health Resources Services Administration in writing to CBS News. It has been admitted by Julie Gerberding on US national broadcast television over the Hannah Poling case but claiming that Hannah Poling’s mitochondrial dysfunction is rare when it is not. The US Federal “Vaccine” Court has awarded compensation in cases where vaccines have caused autistic conditions.

    The source references and links can be found in this CHS article:
    Vaccination Causes Autism – Say US Government & Merck’s Director of Vaccines

    http://tinyurl.com/26kju9m

    And the first known cause of autism is rubella virus and that cause has been known since the 1960s. So live viruses are a known cause of autism and MMR has not just one but three of them.

    Paul Lawrence Hayes then provides a link to a post which refers to but which is not the 2004 Smeeth tobacco science statistical study.

    This is what “Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children (Review)” Demicheli V, Jefferson T, Rivetti A, Price D 2005 Cochrane said about Smeeth:

    “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate.”

    “In the GPRD – based studies (Black 2003; Smeeth 2004) the precise nature of controlled unexposed to MMR and their generalisability was impossible to determine.”

    “GPRD-based MMR studies had no unexposed (to MMR) representative controls. In this study the approximately 4% to 13% seemed to be unexposed controls regarded by the authors as representative. Such a small number may indicate some bias in the selection of controls.”

    “The reporting of information on vaccine content and the schedule
    used varied considerably between studies. …… Twelve studies failed to report any vaccine strains (…. Smeeth 2004….).”

    Of the seventeen studies with clearly missing unintended-event data, three had less than 10% missing from all arms …… four had between 11% to 20% missing (…..Smeeth 2004)”

    Tobacco science. So the real irony is Paul Lawrence Hayes cited a blog post indirectly commenting on Smeeth 2004 and seems to think that is science.

  142. ChildHealthSafety said,

    mrsP [June 25, 2012 at 9:43 am]

    said, “@Autism Parent …. does MMR cause autism? You do not accept the evidence that it does not and there is nothing more I can do to persuade you.”

    mrsP the same can be said of you. See post above @1031

    https://jdc325.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/sue-reid-on-mmr-in-the-daily-mail/#comment-13385

    You don’t accept the evidence vaccines do cause autistic conditions even when it has been confirmed by the US CDC, US HRSA and the US Federal “Vaccine” Court.

    @Autism Parent does not have to accept your claims because the US CDC, US HRSA and the Federal Court contradict them directly.

  143. doomrock said,

    Can anybody hear an echo? It’s deafening from where I’m standing.

  144. Paul Lawrence Hayes said,

    @ChildHealthSafety

    At least Autism parent seems to have recognised which part of the Bandolier article was the relevant one before making incoherently irrelevant demands for links to ‘clinical research’. You’re “not even beyond the reach of science and reason”.

  145. Autism parent said,

    @Paul Lawrence Hayes
    Actually, asbestos ‘science’ is probably overstating this type of study. Epidemiology is not ‘science’ in the strict sense of the word. The link between autism and vaccinations has not been tested using proper scientific clinical research methods. And why not? Could it have something to do with the fact that those funding most medical research (the pharmaceutical companies) are those that have most to lose if a link between autism and vaccinations is established? We need to be careful not to view ‘science’ as divorced from the world in which we live; it does not exist separate from society, in some distant ivory tower, it is part of our world, practised by people who are sometimes motivated by factors other than the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, and who are occasionally influenced by conflicts of interest, such as the one described above.

  146. Skepticat said,

    @Jim

    “He’s also playing a rather dangerous game mixing it with a journalist who has resources to bury him should she decide to call him out unless some white knight swoops in to pay his legal fees.”

    Call him out on what exactly? As she is a journalist, I’m sure Sue Reid knows fine well James isn’t in breach of libel law. Her empty threat was purely and simply to try to intimidate James, probably because she’s embarrassed about her responses to him and didn’t want them made public. If she was happy about what she said to him, why would she mind if he published her emails?

  147. Paul Lawrence Hayes said,

    @Autism parent

    “Epidemiology is not ‘science’ in the strict sense of the word”

    Have you any idea how utterly, perversely, idiotically wrong that is? I probably should’ve stopped trying to engage after that insane OU remark but that does it. LLAP.

  148. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Skepticat [June 25, 2012 at 11:16 am]

    said “Call him out on what exactly? … James isn’t in breach of libel law. ”

    How about jdc325 publishing all of his email exchanges?

  149. Autism parent said,

    @Paul Lawrence Hayes
    I’ve been civil in all my contributions to this thread. It shows you’re running out of arguments when you resort to abuse. Signing out now.

  150. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Paul Lawrence Hayes [June 25, 2012 at 11:18 am]

    We have to agree with you.

    @Autism parent is wrong to say “Epidemiology is not ‘science’ in the strict sense of the word”.

    Epidemiology is not science – period.

    So your insulting comment “Have you any idea how utterly, perversely, idiotically wrong that is?” shows you did not know that. So no one should take any notice of what you say.

    And now that the insults are coming thick and fast, that means two things 1) you folks cannot answer the facts and 2) you are likely going to get worse from here on with disparagement insults and the like.

    It is the usual pattern.

  151. ChrisP said,

    ChildHealthSafety,

    Point 1. I do a good line in insults, just ask old cybertiddles. However, I really can’t see how you could have concluded I was accusing another poster of lying from what I wrote.

    Point 2. The definition of lying includes deliberation. That is making a knowingly false statement. I have no evidence at present as to whether Isabella Thomas knows her statement is false, but makes it anyway or is just incorrect. I have given her the benefit of the doubt, something you seem incapable of doing.

    Point 3. I have not accused anyone of lying. You are simply creating a giant burning strawman to argue with. Although, I might have to start soon.

    Point 4. I referenced the GMC transcript of Wakefield’s case. There are over 100 days of evidence. You can find the transcripts at http://vaccineswork.blogspot.com.au/p/wakefield-transcripts-and-gmc-documents.html , but I suspect you already know about the transcripts.

    Point 5. I see you really are illiterate. Let me write that out for you again: “If Isabella Thomas wants to continue to claim that none of the parents knew who any of the other parents were before their children were ‘enrolled’ in the study, she would be wrong. The GMC transcript has one parent stating she was sent to Wakefield by another parent who already had children in the study.” Did you get it that time? The evidence is there, it the claim continues to be made it is wrong. Isabella Thomas would only be lying if she persisted in the claim knowing it was wrong. I am happy, for the time being to give her the benefit of the doubt, something you seem unable to do.

    Point 6. The citation that some of the parents knew each other is in the GMC trabscript. Do you have trouble reading?

    Point 7. You obviously also don’t understand what a citation is. I gave you one and you even quoted it. I suspect the Royal Free Hospital might be a bit embarrassed about it now, but they might send you a copy if you asked them nicely. I am sure Brian Deer might do the same. I, personally, couldn’t be bothered, because I suspect you know all about the video.

    Always happy to help.

  152. ChildHealthSafety said,

    ChrisP [June 25, 2012 at 11:40 am]

    If you say you have given the citation 1) where did you give it and 2) if you have given it, then what is the problem giving it again.

    Citing 8000+ pages of GMC transcripts is not a citation.

    Which day and which page of which day?

    And make sure it says all the parents knew each other or else apologise to Isabella Thomas on your knees.

    Thanks also for the abuse and disparagement.

  153. ChrisP said,

    ChildHealthSafety,

    You don’t seem to understand what a citation is.

    Given your close association with Andrew Wakefield, you no doubt followed the GMC hearing with great interest.

    And I see you are now trying to mis-characterise what I had to say. All I claimed was that parents of children in the Wakefield paper were known to each other. Not that all the parents knew who all the other parents were. However, on reading the material in the transcript of the GMC case, it would not at all surprise me if the second of those statements turned out to be true. So there is nothing to apologise about.

    Talking of apologies, I notice you have not apologised for mis-characterising my earlier comments. This appears to be your modus operandi here.

  154. ChildHealthSafety said,

    ChrisP [June 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm]

    Still no citation. Time to apologise to Isabella Thomas on your knees.

  155. doomrock said,

    Where did all these fake parents autism parents come from? I reckon that they’re some kind of twatbots parroting the same old failwit over and over and over and over and over and over.

    “Well done Sue for characterising my fake child as one of the living dead. I know you’re doing it out of love”

    “I don’t need your stinking EVIDENCE, it’s a CONSPIRACY!!!”

    “No I haven’t read it but I know it’s wrong.”

  156. ChildHealthSafety said,

    doomrock [June 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm]

    Can’t answer. Won’t Answer.

    Instead, as predicted the insults will come thick and fast.

  157. ChildHealthSafety said,

    ChrisP [June 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm]

    This is what you said:

    “Oh, and one more thing Isabella Thomas. The parents of the children in the study were known to each other. Most were clients of Richard Barr and had been selected for inclusion by anti-MMR groups.”

    But you now say you were not saying “… all the parents knew who all the other parents were.”

    So not only not apologising but also claiming you did not say it in the first place when you did.

    It is the usual pattern.

  158. Simple Soul said,

    I am a simple soul , who loves her children more than anything.All I know is I had a beautiful healthy little boy, chatty and confident just like his brothers , late for his mmr as yes I am one of the dregs of the earth known as a full time working mum and then I experienced the most soul destroying time of all. The moment when at three and a half everything you know as your child stops. He doesn,t respond, doesn”t want to be touched , self harms to take his pain away ( this sounds extreme but my child bites his fingers and balls of his feet until they bleed! ) and instead of talking and singing is silent and no longer looks at you but has a soulless look. Devastating is not the word. But I know my little boy is in there as Ihad him once before and I will help him tirelessly every day until I find him. All we as parents want is help to rectify what went wrong. But no one will help. Our children are in pain please someone help us to make their tummies not hurt anymore and help them to go to the toilet again unaided. Give them back their Independence and dignity. I would give my life for my son to have him pain free.
    So any report highlighting the plight of autism and any debate about possible causes is welcomed by me because then and only then will people learn more about it and then one day a Doctor may say let me help your child and his GI issues instead of the standard answer ” it”s because he is autistic ” which is the total reverse.

    Then I will be £700 a month better off to spend on my other very patient and caring boys instead of my sons nutritional supplementation to keep him rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Things that we can get from our diet but these ignored children cannot and will not until someone listens.

    No need to reply or mention me as I will not be looking again. I wish all parents of any child with difficulties all the best and would plead with others to be patient with these beautiful children until the day when we can work it all out.

  159. Skepticat said,

    @ChildHealthSafety

    “How about jdc325 publishing all of his email exchanges?”

    What law do you think that breaks?

  160. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Skepticat [June 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm]

    So you seem to think jdc325 did not publish all of his email exchanges?

    And you also seem to think that if he did he would be breaking the law.

    So which law do you have in mind?

  161. Gerard said,

    is the standards of treatment and diagnosis of autism poor – yes, it is in certain parts of the country.

    It is a devastating condition for some (but certainly not all) parents to cope with. Yes.

    But that does not mean that MMR causes autism.

    At the end of the day the only thing the Daily Mail care about is selling papers – if that means exploiting the fears of concerned/guilty parents they would do it in a heartbeat

  162. “…regarding your statements of my professional reporting skills.” | Daily Mail Watch said,

    [...] Here is the exchange, and here is the article in the Mail (Freezepage’d version). [...]

  163. Ian D Richards said,

    What is usuall with Mail readers, is they depend upon science until it either outs them as being at fault or stops them doing things, which at 3 years old they where allowed to have a tantrum over, and often still do. I’m sure they where the last to believe world was round, and cigarettes kill and evolution (although on the last they are probably not convinced) and ask them to not put fuel in their 4×4 they feet stamping starts! On MMR vaccine it’s the own fault card which gets played. How could their genes be faulty? Especially when everything is doused in detol and wiped down with J cloths, therefore, someone must be to blame!! As a scientist we always need to question theories, but, Mail readers always know of the one scientist in Rome,Texas or Brazil who is acting as Cnut in the tide. It’s probably time to out the parents who won’t inoculate their children and rely on the other children in the herd!

  164. waltb said,

    Kirsty laments that “if only more people knew about the principles of double blinded randomised controlled trials ” etc.

    The first step is to stop brushing the existing evidence under the carpet. If the medical authorities took proper account of the number of people coming forward whose children have had vaccine reactions, then Kirsty might actually get her double blinded randomised controlled trials.

  165. doomrock said,

    waltbot echoed “The medical authoratar is a giant conspiracy! No matter the lack of evidence of these vaccine ‘reactions’ or the actual ‘evidence’ of your trials, we should be listened to.” Herp derp.

  166. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Ha.

    Posted the following comment on Daily Mail Watch [which is probably something to do with jdc325 and his buddies] and now all commenting is blocked and the comment has not been posted.

    The usual pattern.

    “You seem to suggest jdc325 has published the full set of exchanges.

    So if that is what you suggest, then publish the full set of emails with the email headers showing the times and dates of all the emails in and out and the full text.

    Don’t do it and we can all make our own minds up.

    James “jdc325″ has a habit of leaving out important information when engaging in his crusades against people who publish facts he does not agree with.”

  167. doomrock said,

    ChildHealthIgnorance misrepresented “You seem to suggest jdc325 has published the full set of exchanges.” when nobody said anything of the kind and ‘found’ yet another conspiracy. Twunt is a twunt.

  168. doomrock said,

    Ha.

  169. ChildHealthSafety said,

    doomrock [June 25, 2012 at 3:10 pm]

    Can’t answer. Won’t answer. Just insults and abuse.

    US Health Resources Services Administration:

    “We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.” Email to CBS Monday, May 05, 2008.

    So if you think vaccines do not cause autistic conditions you’d better send a supply of tinfoil hats to the US HRSA. They are paying out on the compensation claims.

  170. ChildHealthSafety said,

    doomrock [June 25, 2012 at 3:10 pm]

    “You seem to suggest jdc325 has published the full set of exchanges.” when nobody said anything of the kind.

    Ha! That is exactly what they said here is the quote and the link:

    “What did JDC325 do? He published of course. Here is the exchange”

    And just gave a link to the incomplete emails jdc325 has posted here.

    Thanks for the abuse and disparagement.

    The usual pattern.

  171. doomrock said,

    ChildHealthIgnorance again echoed “Here is an unreferenced quote which doesn’t mention vaccines”. Ha.

  172. doomrock said,

    Donning my brain armour to engage with moron who has already admitted that it has no answers.

    Point me to where you got the quote “You seem to suggest jdc325 has published the full set of exchanges”.

  173. ChildHealthSafety said,

    doomrock [June 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm]

    Ha.

    “From: Attkisson, Sharyl [ mailto:xxxxx@xxxxxxx.com]
    Sent: Monday, May 05, 2008 2:47 PM
    To: Cheatham, Tina (HRSA)
    Subject: RE: HHS question

    Tina, How many encephalopathy-related cases has compensation been paid on?

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Cheatham, Tina (HRSA) [ mailto:xxxxxxx@hrsa.gov]
    Sent: Monday, May 05, 2008 4:14 PM
    To: Attkisson, Sharyl
    Subject: RE: HHS question

    Hi Sharyl,

    Here are the numbers of compensable cases for encephalitis/encephalopathy and seizures in our database from October 1,
    1988 to March 4, 2008.

    Encephalitis/Encephalopathy 611
    Seizure Disorders 711

    Total 1,322

  174. waltb said,

    JDC325

    It seems that doomrock is only here to insult people who don’t agree with him/her, and to crudely misprespresent their posts. Don’t you want a serious discussion about the issues you have raised?

  175. ChildHealthSafety said,

    doomrock [June 25, 2012 at 3:51 pm]

    Just abuse and disparagement. Thanks “doomrock”. Just makes the other person seem so much more reasonable. The usual pattern.

    So are you now saying jdc325 has not published the full set of exchanges?

    Make your mind up.

    Or is the brain armour – no sense in and none out.

  176. doomrock said,

    ChildHealthIgnorance AGAIN echoed “Here is another unreferenced quote which don’t mention vaccines”. Ha.

  177. doomrock said,

    Point me to where you got the quote “You seem to suggest jdc325 has published the full set of exchanges”.

    Point me to where said that “jdc325 has not published the full set of exchanges”

    Or will you ignore the hard questions again?

    The usual pattern.

  178. doomrock said,

    That should have been point me to where I said that “jdc325 has not published the full set of exchanges”

  179. ChildHealthSafety said,

    doomrock [June 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm]

    Your brain armour is pretty thick.

    There is nothing difficult about it. Either jdc325 has published the full set of exchanges or he has not.

    You also ask ‘Point me to where you got the quote “You seem to suggest jdc325 has published the full set of exchanges”.’

    That quote is one you got from one of our comments. Brain armour just that little bit too thick, eh “doomrock”?

    Ha.

  180. ChildHealthSafety said,

    doomrock [June 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm]

    You really must do something about that brain armour. It seems to be very thick.

    Track the comments back and you will see that “dailymailwatch” claim jdc325 has published the exchanges with Sue Reid.

    But you say they say nothing of the kind.

    So get off the fence and tell us which do you agree with – either jdc325 has published the full set of exchanges or he has not.

    If jdc325 had published the full set of exchanges we could see the times and dates of the emails. But he has omitted them.

    That way of course no one can tell whether he has published the exchanges.

    So jdc325 should publish the exchanges in full and not hold back [as he usually does] and particularly should not pretend he has published when clearly the exchanges are incomplete.

    We need to see all of his statements regarding Sue Reid’s professional reporting skills so we can see if they are defamatory or not.

    jdc325 suggests he has published them but that piece has not yet been cleared up. So he should publish the full set.

    When will we see them jdc325?

  181. doomrock said,

    Ignoring the questions again.

    Point me to where you got the quote “You seem to suggest jdc325 has published the full set of exchanges”. You quoted it. Where did you quote it from? Simple.

    That should have been point me to where I said that “jdc325 has not published the full set of exchanges”. Were you hoping that I’d forget about that one?

    Who besides you has alleged that JDC didn’t publish the full set of exchanges? I’ll help you with that one. Nobody has but you have twice now implied that Skepticat and I have. Show your workings fuckwit.

  182. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Ha,

    Dailymailwatch has reopened comments but the comment we posted [full text above] has not appeared. So we posted it again. No surprises if nothing is posted.

    If memory serves rightly Dailymailwatch is a site run by one of jdc325’s cronies connected with Ben Goldacre’s Badscience forum.

  183. Skepticat said,

    @ChildHealthSafety

    I don’t how you have managed to read any of that into my posts because I have not suggested any such thing.

  184. ChildHealthSafety said,

    doomrock [June 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm]

    Ah doomrock, dear heavily brain armoured person, we are not ignoring the question.

    You are ignoring the answer.

    You got the quote “You seem to suggest jdc325 has published the full set of exchanges”. You quoted it. You quoted it from one of our comments. We did not get the quote. You did. It is a quote from us.

    Simple.

    That brain armour really is thick dear doomwatch. You really should not use terms like “fuckwit” or “twunt”. People might think it is not just the brain armour.

    Next please.

  185. doomrock said,

    Skepticat said:

    “@ChildHealthSafety

    “How about jdc325 publishing all of his email exchanges?”

    What law do you think that breaks?”

    CHI replied:

    “So you seem to think jdc325 did not publish all of his email exchanges?”

    Seems that CHI is a bit hard of thinking.

  186. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Skepticat [June 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm]

    It is implicit in what you wrote. What you wrote is heavily “pregnant” with that direct implication.

    We hope you are not trying out “doomrock”‘s brain armour or we will be here all month explaining.

  187. doomrock said,

    Why do you keep refering to yourself as we?

  188. ChildHealthSafety said,

    doomrock [June 25, 2012 at 4:47 pm]

    You left out this bit of the exchange with Skepticat where Skepticat said regarding jdc325 publishing the full exchanges with Sue Reid:

    “What law do you think that breaks?”

    To which we responded:-
    “And you also seem to think that if he did he would be breaking the law.

    So which law do you have in mind?”

    “Skepticat” has answered neither of the questions 1) whether jdc325 has published his exchanges with Sue Reid and 2) which law does “Skepticat” think would be broken if he did.

    Can both “doomrock” and “Skepticat” please decide which way they want to go on those questions and tell us please.

  189. doomrock said,

    That is a load of bibble isn’t it?

    Point me to where I said that “jdc325 has not published the full set of exchanges”

  190. doomrock said,

    Oh and you’re still refering to yourself as “we” and “our”. Why?

  191. Ben Lee said,

    Sorry, I am now lost myself.

    I don’t think Skepticat/doomrock believe that JDC is witholding any of the emails. My understanding of this is that they believe he has published the correspondance in full, without redaction (as do I).

    Do you (Childhealthsafety) think he has not? If so why do you think this? You could always email the journalist in question if you really believe this to be the case.

    In comment 148 you allude to JDC potentially breaking an undisclosed law – what law do you think he has broken in the above email exchange? I cannot see anything there? I presume you think he has committed libel in the ‘undisclosed’ emails?

    Regards

    BL

  192. Skepticat said,

    @ChildHealthSafety

    Are you feeling OK? Jim suggested Sue Reid had grounds for some sort of legal action against James and I asked Jim what grounds he thought he thought she had. You interjected with “How about jdc325 publishing all of his email exchanges” and I asked you what law you thought that breaks. That you should attribute to me opinions that I have neither stated nor implied – particularly when I have clearly stated that I don’t think James is breaking any law – coupled with your gratuitous insults, doesn’t reflect well on your comprehension skills, your reasoning ability or your character.

    But then neither does anything else you write.

  193. Skepticat said,

    Thank you Ben Lee. I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone that the “publishing of all of his email exchanges” is a red herring introduced by CHS. I haven’t given it a second’s thought until CHS raised it and I don’t see how it’s relevant.

  194. Chris said,

    Autism Parent:

    Intramuscular and subcutaneous injections enable the vaccine to get into the bloodstream very quickly.

    Actually that is very wrong. The reason is to keep it an area where the immune system can respond.

    The reason there is (as yet) no science linking vaccinations to autism is that there is no political will to look for a link. The children who have developed autism following vaccination have not been studied; all we have is epidemiology. As just a mum has said, this is tobacco (or asbestos) science.

    It has been investigated extensively. The reason you don’t think it has been enough is because they have not come up with the answer you want. Since you have shown your lack of scientific and history competence (tobacco science?), your opinions mean very little. If you with to be taken seriously learn a bit more and stop making such blatant errors.

  195. ChildHealthSafety said,

    doomrock [June 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm]

    That brain armour is really causing problems. We never said you said “You seem to suggest jdc325 has published the full set of exchanges”

    But as you kept claiming you had not said that [even though we did not say you had] we asked you [June 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm] regarding your comment [June 25, 2012 at 3:51 pm] questioning the suggestion jdc325 had published the emails exchanges [ie not just selected parts]:

    “So are you now saying jdc325 has not published the full set of exchanges?”

    So which is it? Are you saying the email exchanges have been published or not?

    ————————-

    It is relevant because jdc325 is giving the impression he was threatened with defamation over the extracts he has published. That is he is giving the impression he was threatened over nothing.

    But if he has not published the full set of extracts, then we should see the parts not published regarding statements he made to Sue Reid regarding her professional reporting skills.

    Now we know you have very thick brain armour on but you should answer.

  196. Ben Lee said,

    Childhealthsafety

    I think its only you that believes JDC has not presented the full emails.

    “Maybe James jdc325 has not included all of his email exchanges? That is the usual form.” Comment 120.

    I think the point is the journalist in question was trying to put JDC off from publishing the exchange with the (empty) threat of libel action. Why do you think she would have done that?

  197. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Ha,

    Dailymailwatch has reopened comments but the comment we posted [full text above] has not appeared. So we posted it again. No surprises – still not posted.

    If memory serves rightly Dailymailwatch is a site run by one of jdc325’s cronies connected with Ben Goldacre’s Badscience forum.

  198. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Ben Lee [June 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm]

    said “In comment 148 you allude to JDC potentially breaking an undisclosed law – what law do you think he has broken in the above email exchange?”

    Not quite correct. We did not make such an allusion. In comment 148 we referred to a Skepticat who has been saying the opposite.

    So we put the question to Skepticat “How about jdc325 publishing all of his email exchanges?”

    They clearly have not all been published and as Skepticat suggests jdc325 has not broken any laws then there is no problem publishing the full exchanges.

    So it is not correct to make the suggestion you are making as to an allusion by us.

  199. jdc325 said,

    we should see the parts not published regarding statements he made to Sue Reid regarding her professional reporting skills

    Every statement I made to Sue Reid regarding her professional reporting skills has been published in the blog post above. I think the most controversial statement I made regarding her professional reporting skills was this: “I haven’t suggested at any point that anything be “hushed up”, I’ve simply criticised the way that you have reported the case. I’m not saying ‘don’t report’ – I’m saying ‘report responsibly’.”

  200. Ben Lee said,

    Ok fair enough. I think there has been some confusion here with the large amount posts.

    JDC – have you published the full email exchange?.

  201. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Skepticat [June 25, 2012 at 5:14 pm]

    You are quite right. You wrote “I’m sure Sue Reid knows fine well James isn’t in breach of libel law. Her empty threat was purely and simply to try to intimidate James, probably because she’s embarrassed about her responses to him and didn’t want them made public. If she was happy about what she said to him, why would she mind if he published her emails?”

    So if jdc325/James is not in breach of the law then there is no problem him publishing his emails to Sue Reid in which he made statements regarding her professional reporting skills.

    That is what she was complaining about.

    So if those statements do not break the law if published then jdc325 should publish them.

    And if he has not published them then where does jdc325 stand if the reality is he is making out Sue Reid has threatened him with defamation over nothing? Not that we are saying that is the reality but the position would be clear if jdc325 published the full unedited exchanges.

    That way he can show his article about Sue Reid is neither internet bullying nor harassment.

    Get it?

  202. Chris said,

    CHP:

    Chris, firstly, where is the citation?

    A link embedded in the verbiage before the blockquote. Perhaps you should have someone tell you how to hover your mouse over the links which on this blog are in blue letters. If you cannot even manage to figure that out it is obvious that you do not know or care to lean what you blather on about.

    A local business periodical from where the CDC is headquartered is not a CDC citation. But thanks for “poisoning the well”, it shows how you do not debate honestly, and should therefore be ignored.

    If anyone deserves to be sued for libel it is Clifford Miller for posting several comments on blogs saying “Brian Deer made it up”. I am sure the reason that Mr. Deer has not done so it that he would prefer to stay as far away from Mr. Miller and Mr. Stone as he can. Plus neither are worth the trouble because no one takes them seriously.

  203. ChildHealthSafety said,

    jdc325 [June 25, 2012 at 5:48 pm]

    Thanks for clarifying the position jdc325/James.

    It does look like you owe Sue Reid an apology.

    You seem to fail to appreciate that she reported a factual story factually. There is no point engaging in the long debate with her that you did.

    The fact that you suggest she did not report responsibly when she clearly did is a bit of a no-no, you have to agree. You might as well level the same accusation against The Independent.

    And of course you will simply not accept that organisations like the US CDC and the US HRSA have confirmed that vaccines cause autistic conditions. And that in our view and no doubt the view of many others is just not responsible.

    The fact you wrote to Sue Reid and published this “exchange” is and was pointless.

  204. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Ben Lee [June 25, 2012 at 5:49 pm]

    Is right to ask “JDC – have you published the full email exchange?.”

    Because jdc325/James said only “Every statement I made to Sue Reid regarding her professional reporting skills has been published in the blog post above.”

    That is a tad short of confirmation the full email exchange has been published.

    So James/jdc325 as you have gone this far, can you clear that last bit up please?

  205. Skepticat said,

    In post no. 195, CHS said,

    “It is relevant because jdc325 is giving the impression he was threatened with defamation over the extracts he has published. That is he is giving the impression he was threatened over nothing.

    But if he has not published the full set of extracts, then we should see the parts not published regarding statements he made to Sue Reid regarding her professional reporting skills.”

    You clearly have no knowledge of English libel law. It doesn’t prevent anyone from publicly criticising the way someone does their job. Even if James had said Sue Reid was a hopelessly biased ignoramus who is doing a disservice to public health – all of which is true, AFAIC – he’d be entitled to express that opinion.

    In any event, given that the published emails are clearly sequential and given jdc’s confirmation in post No. 199, you have no grounds whatsoever for thinking he’s kept anything back.

    You might like to do a bit of homework on our libel law before wasting any more time and space on this red herring of yours.

  206. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Skepticat [June 25, 2012 at 6:09 pm]

    Thanks for that. So there is no bar on the entire exchange being published.

  207. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Skepticat [June 25, 2012 at 6:09 pm]

    As on your advice there is no bar to publishing the full exchange then James/jdc325 can either do that or confirm he has already.

    As noted [by us and Ben Lee] it is not clear that confirmation has been given.

    [We note your advice regarding the expression of opinions but we think we might want to avoid following that particular advice. jdc325/James of course can follow whatever advice he chooses.]

  208. Isabella thomas said,

    ChrisP said,

    June 25, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Oh, and one more thing Isabella Thomas. The parents of the children in the study were known to each other. Most were clients of Richard Barr and had been selected for inclusion by anti-MMR groups.

    How do you know this? Did you speak to any of the parents whose children were part of the study?

    Most of the parents in the study were not know to each other until years after the study. The study was a blinded study and parents were not told the names of the other children.nor were they interested. There children were referred to the Hospital by their doctors because they had bowel problems and were in a lot of pain. The hospital could not cope with the amount of referrals of autistic children with bowel problems from doctors all over the country as Professor Walker-Smith was one of the best in his field. The lancet children were referred to Professor Walker-Smith by their doctors..I know other hospitals in London who see Autistic children with bowel disease from all over the country. The Lancet children were not unique but because of them it is recognised that a condition called Autism-enter colitis does exist and this sub-set group of sick children need urgent help and treatment One poor boy I know had most of his bowel taken out because it was so diseased and he is very ill. Like I said you only have to look at the children to know something is not right and they should not be used as political pawns.

  209. waltb said,

    Meanwhile back at the substance, JDC325 said

    “The research was later described by the BMJ as “fraudulent””

    Um, meaning simply that a non medic Brian Deer described it that way, and the BMJ pressed the “LIKE!” button !?

    Meanwhile, JDC cites Danish study – ah those 537,303 children. This is Madsen 2002.

    That’s an interesting choice. Of all the many attempts by the medical establishment to ‘prove’ that MMR is not linked to autism by number crunching incomplete and inadequate medical records, the 2002 Danish study is the least respectable.

    It’s far more dodgy than Wakefield’s paper. It has been panned by many medical professionals amidst accusations of deliberate and blatant miscounting and F-R-A-U …. where’s my lawyer?

  210. ChildHealthSafety said,

    As far as jdc325 publishing the full exchange is concerned, he still has not confirmed it.

    So it is a fair inference that other things were written by jdc325/James which have not been published which any journalist would have justifiable objections to.

    This entire posting by jdc325/James is in any event at best hot air and at worst something much much worse.

    But at least no one has been able to validly contradict what the US HRSA stated to CBS in 2008 about how vaccine encephalopathy can result in autistic conditions in children. And they should know – they have been paying out the compensation claims.

  211. ChildHealthSafety said,

    waltb [June 25, 2012 at 10:51 pm]

    Wakefield’s paper was never dodgy. Not in the least.

    Interesting that the BMJ were keen to claim it was a fraud when it never was.

    Madsen has never answered the criticisms of that paper. Like the children included who were too young to have had a diagnosis of an autistic condition but were included as if all of them were not autistic. The Cochrane 2005 review picked up on that.

  212. Chris said,

    watb:

    It’s far more dodgy than Wakefield’s paper. It has been panned by many medical professionals amidst accusations of deliberate and blatant miscounting and F-R-A-U

    Citation needed. And not the one by Blaxill, please post the PubMed identification numbers of those critiques by real medical professionals. And remember Thorsen was never a major author.

    Though there are still these cites, you should probably post the PubMed citations of the critiques by medical professionals:

    Lancet 1998; 351:1327-8
    No Evidence for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine-Associated Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Autism in a 14-year Prospective Study.

    Lancet. 1999 Jun 12;353(9169):2026-9.
    Autism and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine: no epidemiological evidence for a causal association.

    Vaccine. 2001 Jun 14;19(27):3632-5.
    MMR and autism: further evidence against a causal association.

    Pediatrics 2001;108(4):E58
    No Evidence for a New Variant of Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Induced Autism.

    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2001;155(3):354-9
    Measles-Mumps-Rubella and Other Measles-Containing Vaccines Do Not Increase the Risk for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Case-Control Study from the Vaccine Safety Datalink Project.

    JAMA 2001; 285(9):1183-5
    Time Trends in Autism and in MMR Immunization Coverage in California.

    BMJ 2001; 322:460-63
    Mumps, Measles, and Rubella Vaccine and the Incidence of Autism Recorded by General Practitioners: A Time Trend Analysis.

    BMJ. 2002 Feb 16;324(7334):393-6.
    Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and bowel problems or developmental regression in children with autism: population study.

    Pediatrics 2002; 110:957-63
    Neurologic Disorders after Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination.

    Pediatrics 2004; 113(2): 259-66
    Age at First Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination in Children with Autism and School-Matched Control Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta.

    J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;46(6):572-9.
    No effect of MMR withdrawal on the incidence of autism: a total population study.
    .
    J Autism Dev Disord 2007; 37(2):210-7
    MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan.

    PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140
    Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.

    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 May;29(5):397-400.
    Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case-control study.

    Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):247-53.
    Lack of association between childhood immunizations and encephalitis in California, 1998-2008.

    Now where are the citations on how autism rose steeply in the USA in the 1980s well before the adoption of the DSM IV, but long after the introduction of the MMR vaccine there? If CHS is to be believed there should be a spike after the Measles Elimination Program was started in 1978.

  213. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Chris [June 25, 2012 at 11:18 pm]

    Funny thing that Chris. How could the US HRSA get it so wrong in 2008 with all that “science”.

    Should Obama sack the lot of them or maybe we should take no notice of the “tobacco science”.

  214. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Chris [June 25, 2012 at 11:18 pm]

    Said “If CHS is to be believed there should be a spike after the Measles Elimination Program was started in 1978.”

    But you have still not established that MMR was in widespread use before 1984. We have been here before. No citation and no evidence.

  215. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Chris [June 25, 2012 at 11:18 pm]

    There could never be a spike in any event. For example, the average age of diagnosis of Aspergers is 9. So there would be a gradual increase in overall prevalence of autistic conditions as diagnoses were made of the first birth cohort in 1984, and that of the next cohort in 1985 and so on with a steady but significant incremental increase year on year.

    You would expect to see a graph curving up from inception of the environmental cause.

    And of course, as the US HRSA has confirmed, it is not just the MMR vaccine but any vaccine can cause an encephalopathy. So there is not just one environmental cause but many.

    So if you just look at one vaccine any amount of epidemiology will never find an association between one vaccine and the increase in autistic conditions. That is one reason why none of them have. But of course the folks commissioning the studies would know that surely, Chris?

    That is just what was seen in the UK with each change in the vaccine programme. MMR in 1988. Accelerated DTP in 1990. HiB in May? 1992 etc.

    Check out the graph in the 2001 paper by Jick and Kaye.

  216. Chris said,

    CHS. I recognize the words as being English, but the way they are arranged do not make sense. Dude, I showed you a link to the CDC report on the Measles Elimination Program recommended MR and MMR. I am sorry if you do not know how to click on a link or have colorblindness that does not allow you to differentiate between blue and gray text.

    Just show that the autism rates increased sharply in the 1980s before the adoption of the DSM IV. Just post the cite by posting the title, journal and date of the PubMed indexed paper. Because “2001 paper by Jick and Kaye” is not a proper citation, because it is missing the journal and title of the article.

  217. Chris said,

    Okay, I found it, because I actually referenced it. I am asking about the USA autism numbers in the 1980s. Why do you find that confusing?

    There really is not correlation, and you might try reading the words:

    The risk of autism increased nearly fourfold among boys aged 2 to 5 years born in 1988-93 and registered in the UK general practice research database, whereas the prevalence of MMR vaccination was over 95% and virtually constant

    And:

    These data provide evidence against a causal association between MMR vaccination and the risk of autism

    Now go find those numbers before 1990 in the USA, because according to you those numbers started to increase in 1984 (when the ACIP minutes were only on paper, and are probably in microfiche somewhere). Come on, go on… show us that the autism rates increased in the USA much sooner than the UK! And really, use proper cites.

  218. Chris said,

    Oh, and fair warning: Do not even think of linking to anything written by Dr. F.E. “it is okay to shake babies, we will get you off by blaming vaccines” Yazbak.

  219. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Ha. “shaken baby” is a great example of the medical profession inventing junk science theories.

    So obviously you will have a great deal of difficulty with anything in recent comments if you subscribe to that idea.

    Complete nonsense – that the triad of injuries can be caused by shaking without any other signs of trauma to the neck of the baby or to that parts of the body where the adult supposedly held it whilst shaking. The physics of the concept was always bonkers.

    And when a pathologist at the Royal London showed that the petechial hemorrhage was common in infants who died natural deaths that really stuck it to the concept of the triad of injuries of supposed “shaken baby”.

    So not only do you have difficulty with something the US HRSA do not have difficulty with – that vaccines cause autistic conditions – you also subscribe to a theory which always has been barking.

    In the Louise Woodward case whilst it was claimed baby Eppen had contracted a broken wrist it was accepted that it was not Louise Woodward who had caused that. A very strange aspect of the case.

  220. waltb said,

    Chris

    Thanks for the links – it’s nice to see so many of these old chestnuts! I thought they had had their day in the sun though, or at least their day in the headlines. A bit surprising that you should trot them out without comment though.

    Bet JDC is also surprised that you should attempt to reject criticism of Madsen based on presumed rank of medical experts (“real medical professionals”, a bit dogmatic yes?), particularly as the criticism was not of a medical nature – as indeed, the study wasn’t. As indeed, neither were most of the others.

    “Citation needed. And not the one by Blaxill, please post the PubMed identification numbers of those critiques by real medical professionals. And remember Thorsen was never a major author.”

    So you will shoot critics down using your own subjective opinion, how scientific.

    Turning to your list of studies, I’m with JDC on this one, at least on the logic if not the conclusion: he admirably noted: “That most doctors “say there is no link” might be interesting, but what is actually informative is that the evidence shows there is no link”

    Indeed. So JDC would presumably say “That many studies SAY there is no link” might be interesting but what is actually informative is what the evidence SHOWS” – and it shows nothing of the sort.

    I’m not dogmatic and I’m even prepared to go along with Madsen when he pointed out that most previous studies were too small to detect the effect (my emphasis):

    “Studies designed to evaluate the suggested link between MMR vaccination and autism do not support an association, but the evidence is weak and based on case-series, cross-sectional, and ecologic studies. NO STUDIES HAVE HAD SUFFICIENT STATISTICAL POWER TO DETECT AN ASSOCIATION, and none had a population-based cohort design. 10-16.”

    That answers the first seven or eight of your pasted studies. Studies too small to detect an association were clearly not designed to.

    Let’s look at one example though, your Peltola study :

    Parents who have scrutinised the studies quoted by the Department of Health as “proof” of there being no link have found that such studies crumble easily when pressed. To give just one example, the Finnish study by Patja, Peltola et al was very loudly heralded at the start of 2001 by the Department of Health as convincing and conclusive proof that MMR was safe. After intense critical scrutiny by parents and media, by the end of 2001 the Medical Research Council was forced to admit that Patja, Peltola et al’s original 1998 paper “did not examine the relationship of MMR and autistic spectrum disorders…..and does not therefore provide useful evidence on this point.” Of the later 2000 paper by Patja, Peltola et al, the MRC admitted: “The findings need to be interpreted with some caution, as cases of autistic spectrum disorder or bowel disorders not considered at the time attributable to MMR would not necessarily have been reported”. Quite a retreat.

    http://www.whale.to/a/thrower.html

    Here is a criticism in made to parliament:

    Miss Julie Kirkbride “I am grateful that my hon. Friend raised the Finnish study, which looked at 1 million children and claimed that there was no link between MMR and autism. The problem is that IT FOUND NOT A SINGLE CASE OF AUTISM, which, in 1 million children, is statistically inconceivable. I am greatly concerned about the veracity of the study and its conclusions.” http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200102/cmhansrd/vo020226/halltext/20226h02.htm

    Yes there are more recent studies in your list but most of them have obvious fundamental flaws, pointed out by experts and campaigners once the headlines had been grabbed.

    Let’s take one for example though: Honda et al (2005), No effect of MMR withdrawal on the incidence of autism: a total population study, 15877763

    This was another study hyped to the hilt to create a huge impact, arguably then falling apart on later inspection.

    One BMJ comment on the manner of its release: “Without commenting on its content, I note that yet another epidemiological study has been published amidst immense publicity without any one expert being given a chance to digest or comment intelligently. Problems have emerged with every single one of these studies once the publicity has died down, yet the criticisms are blanked by the authors and each one continues to be paraded in the media as if it was spotless. This is not a tactic which leads to trust or belief. “ (John Stone, http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/330/7483/112-d#)

    Plenty of people (see link) gave reasons why this Japanese study was suspect. Even I can see that the conclusions certainly were!

    CONCLUSIONS: “(1) The significance of this finding is that MMR vaccination is most unlikely to be a main cause of ASD, that (2) it cannot explain the rise over time in the incidence of ASD, and that (3) withdrawal of MMR in countries where it is still being used cannot be expected to lead to a reduction in the incidence of ASD.”
    (my numbering).

    (1) is an unusual appearance of a straw man in the conclusions of a scientific study. Nobody made the claim that MMR was a ‘main cause’ of ASD. The whole paragraph is a straw man. The study is answering the question “has ASD arisen mainly from MMR, and will stopping MMR reduce it?”.

    Bearing in mind the study was entirely confined to Japan, its internationalised conclusions, especially (3), are unjustified, no matter what the study claimed to have found in Japan. Indeed the Japanese pattern of vaccination starkly differed from the US and UK, for example.

    Perhaps one of the authors thought the data did support a link, and these conclusions were a compromise!

    Another psychiatrists’ study… the funding of which seemed obscure. It was criticized for glossing over important matters – like changes in the classification of autism. The long thread in the BMJ, linked below, is worth browsing. One of the authors had helped guide the course of the MMR inquiry in the United Kingdom, and was an adviser to GlaxoSmithKline. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/330/7483/112-d#

    But the main thing for me is that the politicization in the conclusions suggests the study was intended mainly to spread a message.

    It’s difficult to ‘answer’ so many in one go especially with the difficulty long posts but you appear to place emphasis on the immunizations and encephalitis. Yet a previous post by CHS has pointed out that the government has paid out compensation on a thousand of them:

    “We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease”

    As JDC suggest the number of professionals supporting each other is not reliable scientific evidence. Medically qualified or not, you need to look at the substance of what is on offer.

  221. Chris said,

    1: I do not see any PMIDs. Perhaps you should actually just give the PubMed links.

    2: I do not see medically qualified persons providing those critiques. Anyone can post a comment on BMJ rapid responses, or testify in front of a legislative body, so those are not true cites (and the second BMJ link was broken). So where did John Stone and Julie Kirkbride do their post-graduate work? And there was more than one study from Japan (their MMR had the Urabe strain of mumps).

    3: You invoked Scopie’s Law:

    In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to as a credible source loses you the argument immediately …and gets you laughed out of the room.

    I asked specifically for the PubMed indexed cites that were critiques of the one particular Madsen paper by those in the medical profession. You would have done better by actually doing into PubMed and noticing the responses. Here is the PMID of the that study: PMID: 12421889. Now here is the list of comments on that article (one is by Wakefield):

    Suspicions about the safety of vaccines. [N Engl J Med. 2002]
    There is little evidence that combined vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella is associated with autism. [Evid Based Ment Health. 2003]
    Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism. [N Engl J Med. 2003]
    Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism. [N Engl J Med. 2003]
    Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism. [N Engl J Med. 2003]
    Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine was not associated with autism in children. [Evid Based Nurs. 2003]

    If I wish to be bothered I would go to the medical school library a couple miles away and look them up. I am guessing that the only non-favorable comment is PMID: 12622124.

    I am only asking for three things:

    a: That someone post the title, journal and dates of the PubMed indexed papers that show that the MMR is more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella. It does not have to be autism, it can include causing encephalitis at rates greater than one in a thousand doses.

    b: That someone post the title, journal and dates of the PubMed indexed papers that show the USA experienced a sharp increase in autism during the 1980s, a full decade after the MMR was approved for use there, but way before the adoption of DSM IV. Do try to help Wakefield by showing he did not just get the idea because he was offered a pile of cash by a lawyer.

    c: If you are going to claim that Madsen’s study was fatally flawed that you present the title, journal and date of a PubMed indexed critique from someone who is scientifically qualified to give a competent review. This does not include Mark Blaxill, John Stone, or some other random person who writes an opinion piece, and especially not a politician with an agenda.

  222. ChrisP said,

    Isabella Thomas, I know that some of the parents were known to each other before being enrolled in the study because one of the parents stated at the GMC hearing that another parent, already in the study, gave them Wakefield and Barr’s details.

    In addition, there is substantial circumstantial evidence that other parents were likely to know each other.

    1) They were part of the same anti-MMR organisations, such as JABS. These are not large organisations and it is highly likely that information about the study was being shared within the organisations.
    2) Several of the parents were part of an on-going court action led by Richard Barr before the study commenced. Indeed, the whole purpose of the study was to create evidence for the court case. Having been involved in several court cases, I am aware that those involved on a particular side do meet to share information on frequent occasions. Therefore, it would be highly likely that the participants in the court case were known to each other before their children were enrolled in the study.
    3) A family from California enrolled their child in the study. This is highly unusual for scientific studies where participants are usually sourced from local advertising or national databases. So how did a family from California learn about a study being conducted in a hospital in the UK and was enrolled against normal practice? I don’t know, but it would seem likely they heard about the study from either: Wakefield, Barr or another parent in the study. Given the father has claimed not to know about the lawsuit, that leaves two choices.

    It is this circumstantial evidence that leads me to the conclusion that the parents of the children in the study had more knowledge of each other than you have been suggesting.

  223. Chris said,

    Even still, no matter how the subjects of the study were recruited, there were only twelve. Wakefield should have taken up the offer to do a more extensive study, but decided to leave the Royal Free instead. So that baton was picked up by Dr. Brent Taylor, and later Dr. Mady Hornig. Neither of them found what Wakefield claimed (and there are no independent confirmations).

    Even if Wakefield was correct (and he was not), it was a tiny study and did not merit a video press conference. It was sloppily done, so it really did not even merit being published. This was all known before 1999.

    ChrisP:

    A family from California enrolled their child in the study. This is highly unusual for scientific studies where participants are usually sourced from local advertising or national databases.

    If one is going to study the effect of a medical intervention, it is prudent to make sure that it is one factor that is kept consistent. If Wakefield were a competent researcher he would have made sure that each child had the same MMR. Between 1988 and 1992 there were at least three used in the UK, then one between 1992 to 1998, when it changed a final time. The American child had an MMR vaccine similar, but not identical to one of the three used earlier.

    Which is why I often ask which MMR vaccine was Wakefield investigating.

  224. ChrisP said,

    Chris, I could fill this blog page with things that are wrong with the Wakefield paper. Even as a small case series it was flawed because of the lack of consistent diagnoses and the different vaccines used. The results were mis-interpreted, fudged and seemingly invented when necessary.

    But then the purpose of the research was not to improve the state of knowledge, but to create a new disease that was going to bring Wakefield fame and fortune, and to further a court case against vaccine manufacturers.

  225. Chris said,

    And to pile on, this was all known before Brian Deer came on to the scene. If you look at the studies I listed, most of them were before 2004.

    For all the vitriol they spray on Mr. Deer, they don’t realize that Wakefield’s “research” was considered an outlier, and essentially wrong. All Mr. Deer did was find out why.

  226. Chris said,

    ChrisP:

    and to further a court case against vaccine manufacturers.

    There was a legitimate concern about the Urabe mumps component, but Wakefield ignored that. The irony was that his call for parents to use single vaccines meant that they used an illegally imported Urabe mumps vaccines. Hence the reason for this warning.

  227. doomrock said,

    “ChrisP said,

    June 26, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Chris, I could fill this blog page with things that are wrong with the Wakefield paper. ”

    But you’ll never shake their “faith”.

  228. Isabella Thomas said,

    I have been looking at all the responses about the Lancet study and especially attacking Dr. Wakefield on this blog with lots of misinformation relying on a journalist who is obsessed with Dr. Wakefield. None of the parents whose children were in the study complained about the treatment of their children and I should know because my children were part of the study.
    I am not going to carry on this trend here because the real truth will come out in a court case in America where Brian Deer, Fiona Godlee and the British Medical Journal will be sued and justice will be done for my boys, other children and Dr. Wakefield.
    All I can say is be patient as this case will go down in history and hopefully no doctor will be treated like this in the future by a journalist who has no medical expertise, interviewed one of the parents under a false name and never interviewed most of the Lancet parents including myself.

  229. waltb said,

    Chris

    Your stance is more interesting than your evidence Chris. Which came first – the acceptance that the earth was not flat, or the authoritarian decrees to that effect? In a thread about evidence, it is your wielding of the ‘medical’ rubber stamp that is truly, scientifically, laughable. Haven’t you seen these old ads that say More Doctors Smoke Camel, it’s good for your throat etc?

    You do not address the substance of anything you only throw ink on the sources or the messengers. Whale (cue laughter) … geez. Trouble is Chris, it was the Medical Research Council that was being quoted in Whale – regarding a study you have offered as evidence. I believe they are medically qualified. According to them your (Peltola) study:

    “….did not examine the relationship of MMR and autistic spectrum disorders…..and does not therefore provide useful evidence on this point.”

    I see – you want medically qualified opinions but only when expressed in a medical journal or else you will simply laugh at the messenger. Well you find it in Pubmed and then answer it, or explain why it isn’t there – fair enough?

    Thanks for the link to Madsen crits – I didn’t follow up on Madsen because you posted a dozen other studies. As far as I can see though, there’s little else but ad-hom in your post from the evidence-based scientist. You are aware of the criticisms of the Masden study, but decline to answer them unless some doctor puts his neck on the line by explaining in Pubmed that Masden study was essentially a fabrication from beginning to end and that all the other doctors have disgraced themselves by not reading it or by keeping shtoom. Step up, please!

    Once again, the criticisms are not of a medical nature. You should know this, because the study was number crunching exercise on medical records. No fundamentally ‘medical’ view could be taken of a non-medical study. There wasn’t an autistic child in sight (Madsen didn’t seem to know how to count them properly). A similar criticism applies to at least most of the others. A study (or critique) does not become ‘competent’ or otherwise by means of the qualification or otherwise of the authors.

    The bad news is you must do your own thinking and not simply appeal to authority. But the good news is that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks!
    Cheers

  230. Terry said,

    There is no reliable evidence based on good science that MMR does not cause ASD; all based on bad science, eg. the Denmark study was highly flawed and one of the leading researchers of that study has been shown to be corrupt!

    To suggest the vast majority of doctors believe ASD is not connected to MMR holds no credibility because they diagnose and treat patients; they are not research scientists. Doctors take the advice of drug companies on vaccines. Most doctors do not even know what is in a particular vaccine unless they read up. If they did check the ingredients I doubt if they would administer it!

    Better diagnoses for autism? DSM IV used today was also used thirty years ago. Environmental factors as a cause; yes I agree. Vaccines are environmental and contain heavy metals as are amalgam fillings! My daughter was vaccine damaged thirty five years ago and she never had the MMR but all the other usual childhood vaccines that contained mercury and aluminium and other nasties!

    Recent outbreaks of measles the US have been shown to infect people who have been vaccinated! When Jenner started to vaccinate people with cowpox to prevent smallpox the death rates soared. This resulted in a huge cover up.

    Funny how history repeats itself.

    Terry.

  231. waltb said,

    ChildHealthSafety

    “Wakefield’s paper was never dodgy. Not in the least.”

    Thanks – I wasn’t saying it was dodgy, I was just putting myself in the shoes of the medical faithful here who believe it was – the arguments over possible conflict of interest are difficult to get to the bottom of. Of course this criticism if valid also applies in at least as good measure to the authors of most of the studies cited as ‘proof’ (do Chris and JDC really believe that?) that the MMR is safe. It’s a good example of double standards from the shifting-goalposts-based scientists.

  232. Isabella Thomas said,

    I know this is a little off topic but I hope you will read the story of a very good friend of mine whose child died.in a most tragic way. This can still happen today sadly as there is such a lack of understanding of our children’s condition.

    http://trust-for-autism.org.uk/HarrysStory/home.html

    So tragic and must never happen again.

  233. mrsP said,

    Waltb

    The medical “faithful” on here do not “believe” that Wakefields paper was dodgy. They accept the evidence that shows it was. And because their opinions are evidence based, they are capable of altering their opinions if new evidence appears, and also of stating they are wrong if it is proved they are.

    It is the anti vax, pro Wakefield afficionados who “believe”; whose opinions will not change because they do not accept scientific method.

  234. jdc325 said,

    From: James
    Date: Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 4:54 PM
    Subject: Re: Some comments re the MMR piece
    To: Sue Reid

    Dear Sue,

    I have simply pointed out that there has been rigorous investigation of the implausible notion that MMR could be linked to autism and that this rigorous investigation has shown there is no association.

    You seem to think I have argued that parents should not be able to go to vaccine compensation courts – I think if you re-read my previous emails you will note that I have made no such argument.

    There is at an implied assertion in your latest email that vested interests are “in control” in this country. Can you substantiate that? Are the pharmaceutical giants really in charge? What is the basis for this belief of yours?

    Please point out where it has been insinuated that a multitude of children have been killed by measles in recent years.

    Kind regards,
    James.

    On Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 4:47 PM, Sue Reid wrote:

    Dear James, I am very concerned that you keep saying emphatically that autism is not caused by vaccination. That is what any new debate will be about. Surely parents of autistic children, of which there are many, many thousands in this country, deserve that at least? I see the Independent has reported the case too, and CBS in America is about to do so. There has been another case in Italy, and there are 150 in the pipeline….if you cannot go to a court for justice, where else?

    At least state medicine, the pharmaceutical giants and other vested interests are not in charge there (well, not in Italy at least). As for measles, it has been insinuated that the drop in vaccination take up because of the MMR scare has provoked a measles epidemic in England and Wales that has killed a multitude of children.

    This is clearly not true. And it would be disingenuous and legally dangerous to say otherwise. Sue.

    From: James
    Sent: 19 June 2012 16:23

    To: Sue Reid
    Subject: Re: Some comments re the MMR piece

    Dear Sue,

    You keep talking about how awful autism is. You seem to miss the point that it is not caused by vaccination. That is a rather important point to miss.

    I haven’t suggested at any point that anything be “hushed up”, I’ve simply criticised the way that you have reported the case. I’m not saying ‘don’t report’ – I’m saying ‘report responsibly’.

    Kind regards,
    James.

    On Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 4:19 PM, Sue Reid wrote:

    Dear James, Many children (one in 64 girls and boys) and their parents, endure a living death. Also there is always this insinuation that measles is a killer. I don’t what happened in Duisberg, but what happened in Manchester, or Birmingham, or Taunton. I am not undermining the vaccination programme (spelt correctly UK style) I am merely reporting what has happened in an Italian court, after two years of medical investigation and hearings. Should we have hushed this up? Sue

    From: James
    Sent: 19 June 2012 16:13

    To: Sue Reid
    Subject: Re: Some comments re the MMR piece

    Dear Sue,

    I have read the statistics on deaths from acute measles infection over the decades. The fact there have been so few in recent years is testimony to the vaccination program that you are undermining.

    That you do not know anyone of your generation who died tells us nothing about the seriousness of measles then or today. Look at the statistics I provided in my previous email – you may not recall any victims of measles but it is clear that others will. Those are not just abstract numbers – they represent actual people who sadly died and whose friends and families mourn them now. In Duisburg in 2006 measles had a mortality rate of 1 in 307 as two of the three young people with encephalitis died. The two children who developed encephalitis and died were aged 2 months, and 2 years. The infant was too young for vaccination and would have relied upon herd immunity for protection. So if we’re thinking about the children, perhaps we should start with preventable deaths?

    As for the difficulties faced by families who have children with autism, I do not deny them. But I do deny that there is a link between MMR vaccination and autism.You say that “if there is any risk it needs debate and investigation” – the potential risk has been debated and investigated already and the investigations showed there was no association between MMR and autism. You seem to be ignoring the investigations that have already taken place.

    As for your query about my motivations – I made them clear in my previous email. You seem to think I was being dishonest and that I am in fact paid by Big Pharma. You are wrong about this – I have never received a penny in payment from Big Pharma and have absolutely no link to them. I have zero financial interest in either vaccination or autism. I am happy to have clarified this point and I do hope that you will accept my clarification as being honest.

    Kind regards,
    James

    On Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 3:49 PM, Sue Reid wrote:

    Actually, James, the Office of National Statistics and the Health Protection Agency says there have been four deaths from measles in the last twenty years, and two of these were children with serious underlying conditions, and one was misreported. Read up! We were all nursed through measles and I do not know anyone of my generation who died. I must inquire, are you part of the Big Pharma industry, do work for the Priory (which charges £300.000 a year to look after an autistic child) or what is your particular interest in this Italian case? The Italians (and again this is on line) say one child should not suffer for the herd. I think you ought to visit families (one in 64 in England and Wales) who have a child with an autistic condition. Spend a weekend with them, change the nappies at 21, that kind of thing and then you wouldn’t take such a partisan view. If there is any risk it needs debate and investigation. Sue

    From: James
    Sent: 19 June 2012 15:43
    To: Sue Reid
    Subject: Re: Some comments re the MMR piece

    Dear Sue,

    Thank you for your reply to my email.

    I do accept that they said there was a link and used the term “scientific probability” but that is an opinion, not evidence. I can see no reasonable grounds for their conclusion. The basis appears to be that (a) there was a correlation between the time of vaccination and the onset of autism and (b) they could find no reason for the onset of autism. This has apparently led them to conclude that the vaccination was linked. There is an assumption that the vaccine was the cause, but no evidence to support this assumption. By contrast, the evidence that there is no link between MMR and autism is plentiful – as can be seen from the Gerber and Offit paper I referred to previously. I can understand courts presuming an association and compensating parents but this presumption of guilt is simply not evidence that there is a link.

    I agree that a child damaged by any vaccine should get compensation, and I have no problem with courts presuming vaccine damage rather than it having to be established. What I have a problem with is this presumption of guilt being reported as if it is proof of a link between MMR and autism when it is no such thing.

    As you bring the issue up, I should say that I have a problem with bonus payments for achieving certain levels of vaccine coverage – I note that GPs in 2002 voted to abandon the bonus payments for MMR vaccination (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1399087/Doctors-abandon-bonus-scheme-for-MMR-jabs.html) but I don’t think they went far enough. I think payments for achieving certain levels of vaccine coverage introduce a financial interest where none should exist. The sole motivation for achieving levels of vaccination that ensure herd immunity should be maintaining the health of the population. With regard to the point about vaccination of children who are ill, moderate or severe illnesses are already listed as contraindications for MMR vaccination and I see no reason to include minor illness – is there any evidence to support the idea that children with minor illnesses should not receive the MMR vaccine?

    You say this was a report, not a commentary, and ask if I am suggesting it should not have been reported. Personally, I don’t think it is newsworthy that a vaccine compensation court presumed a link between a vaccination and the onset of a condition – but if it is thought that people might be interested then of course if will be reported. My problem is with the way it has been reported – various opinions have been reported but as I said in my original email the evidence has not. I think anyone suggesting that public health decisions should be made on the basis of opinions rather than evidence would be unwise.

    I don’t normally write to journalists with whom I disagree (there simply wouldn’t be enough hours in the day) and I have to admit that I have singled you out here, but I believe my motivation for doing so is important. The reason I take this issue so seriously is because measles is a very serious, highly infectious disease that, when outbreaks occur, causes serious harm and death – but it is a serious, infectious disease that can easily be prevented by a vaccine that is safer than the disease by orders of magnitude.

    The 10 years prior to the introduction of the single measles vaccine (1958-1967) brought 863 deaths, and 4,120,936 notifications. In the 10 years following the introduction of this vaccine (1968-1977), there were 292 deaths – and 1,600,979 notifications. Even with relatively low uptake, the use of this vaccine saw a reduction in the number of deaths of 571 (66%). There was a reduction in the number of notifications of 2,519,957, (61%).

    With the improved uptake of measles vaccination following the introduction of MMR in 1988, notifications and deaths fell still further. The ten years following the introduction of MMR saw 18 deaths (compared with 140 in the previous ten years). Notifications, meanwhile, fell from 837,424 to 106,210.

    Around 1 in 100 cases of measles will result in hospitalisation. The complications of measles include diarrhoea, convulsion, encephalitis, and death. Italy, 2002: 3 deaths, 594 hospitalizations. Germany, 2006: 160 children hospitalized, 3 with brain inflammation. Japan, 2000: 88 deaths. Ireland, 2000: 2 children dead. California, 1989/90: 75 deaths, 3,390 hospital admissions.

    The consequences of measles infection are known to be real. The idea that autism is a consequence of MMR vaccination is not. You cannot even begin to compare actual deaths with imagined links to autism. Gerber and Offit: “although no data supporting an association between MMR vaccine and autism existed and a plausible biological mechanism was lacking, several epidemiologic studies were performed to address parental fears created by the publication by Wakefield et al”. Even though there was nothing that showed an association between the vaccine and autism and there was no reason to think there might be a link, researchers still conducted studies. None of these studies showed a link. Because there simply isn’t one.

    Ecological studies: in the UK, MMR vaccination rates of autistic children were similar to those of the entire study population. Also, investigators did not observe a clustering of autism diagnoses relative to the time that children received MMR vaccine. In California, the increase in the number of autism diagnoses did not correlate with MMR vaccination rates. In Canada, autism rates increased coincident with a decrease in MMR vaccination rates (i.e., as uptake of MMR vaccine went down, autism diagnoses continued to rise).

    Retrospective studies: In Denmark, researchers determined vaccination status and autism diagnosis in 537,303 children. The authors observed no differences in the relative risk of autism between those who did and those who did not receive MMR vaccine.

    Kind regards,
    James.

    On Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 1:43 PM, Sue Reid wrote:

    Dear James, If you read the Italian judgement on line you will see they did say there was a link, and it was a scientific probability, that this boy’s autism was caused by the MMR jab. Also, most importantly, the Italian High Court has since ruled that a child damaged by ANY VACCINE should get compensation – thereby making doctors (who in this country are paid bonuses to meet MMR targets of 90 per cent) think twice before they inoculate a child with a cold or stomach complaint, for instance, because they will, in Italy, now be liable if that child is later proven to have vaccine damage. I think that is a welcome safeguard and many parents have contacted me to say the same. This was a report, not a commentary. Are you suggesting that it should not have been reported? Regards, Sue

    From: James
    Sent: 18 June 2012 21:43
    To: Sue Reid
    Subject: Some comments re the MMR piece

    Dear Ms Reid,

    I read your article on the Italian MMR / autism court case with interest and there are a couple of points I would like to comment on.

    The headline includes this: “The vast majority of doctors say there is no link between the triple jab and autism, but could an Italian court case reignite this controversial debate?”, which presents the issue as a matter for authority rather than evidence. That most doctors “say there is no link” might be interesting, but what is actually informative is that the evidence shows there is no link. As for questioning whether the ruling will reignite the debate – I am sure it will, thanks in part to articles such as the one you penned. I don’t know whether you were responsible for the headline – perhaps you might pass that comment on to the relevant person?

    You write that the judgement “challenges the settled view of the majority of the medical profession”. If it does so at all, then it is a very weak challenge – the judgement reflects the opinion of one person (albeit apparently supported by three medical professionals), whereas medical consensus on MMR and autism is supported by robust evidence – the evidence is the reason for the consensus. In fact, the only mention of the evidence underpinning the view of the medical profession appears to be in the quote from the Department of Health at the very end of the article. This is something of a problem – the question of whether there is a link between the MMR vaccine and autism is best answered by robust, reliable evidence. If this evidence is not addressed, any discussion of a possible link is missing the most vital ingredient. Gerber and Offit’s paper Vaccines and Autism: A Tale of Shifting Hypotheses discusses the evidence that showed no association between MMR and autism. (See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908388/?tool=pubmed.)

    Your article compares current estimates of autism prevalence to the reported rate in the 1980s and refers to the Department of Health and NHS doctors “arguing forcefully that better diagnosis of autism and environmental factors are responsible for the extraordinary rise in the number of cases”. What is characterised as “forceful argument” is a point of view that is supported by the best available evidence. The argument as presented appears to be incomplete or simplified, however – it is not just that there is “better diagnosis of autism” there is also a corresponding decline in other diagnoses. It is not simply the case that children were not previously diagnosed with autism – they were more frequently given different diagnoses than they are now. Shattuck and Baird et al have published papers describing the role of diagnostic substitution and other factors in the increase in ASD diagnoses. Yet this evidence is not mentioned. Again, it is presented as “experts argue that…” but the discussion of evidence is missing.

    With Andrew Wakefield, it isn’t so much that his “research methods were later discredited” – a case series such as that presented by Wakefield could never justify the scaremongering that he began and the mainstream media fanned the flames of; the conclusions were never warranted on the basis of the results (which is why there was a partial retraction from 10 of 13 authors); his paper contained a number of errors (for example, several of the children whose cases formed the basis of the Lancet paper that was the beginning of the MMR scare had symptoms reported by Wakefield et al as occurring after administration of the MMR vaccine, but medical records which showed otherwise) and was eventually retracted in full by The Lancet when it became clear just how flawed it was. The research was later described by the BMJ as “fraudulent”.

    The article includes a comment that “in the UK, this much-debated link has never been established in the courts.” The courtroom is not the place for such links to be established – and the Italian judgement has not in fact established a link. Finding no other pre-existing condition to explain the diagnosis of autism and ruling the vaccine to be the culprit on that basis is not only odd – it does not and cannot establish a link between the vaccine and autism. As far as I know, there is no reason to believe that autism is caused by “other pre-existing conditions” so simply excluding other pre-existing conditions gives no reason to even presume a link. It looks to me as if there has been a presumption of guilt in the courtroom when it comes to vaccine compensation – and I can see the merit of arguments for this to be the case, but presuming a vaccine is responsible for a condition and awarding compensation in no way demonstrates an actual link.

    There are further references to “consensus of medical opinion” and “most doctors” without any reference to the evidence that the consensus is based on before we finally get to the one mention of the wealth of evidence showing no link – and that is in a quote from the Department of Health. You follow this with a comment to the effect that because of a judgement in an Italian courtroom the debate over a possible link between MMR and autism is “not over” – I think that the judgement is being treated as if it is an important contribution to the debate when it is not. I can’t see how a mere presumption that the vaccine is linked can overturn the wealth of evidence, robust evidence at that, showing there is no link.

    Kind regards,
    James

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  235. Autism parent said,

    @mrsP
    Not too long ago, a lot of employers accepted the evidence that showed that asbestos was safe, and continued to expose workers to the risk of lung disease long after doubts had arisen about its safety. As a result, thousands of people have had to endure unnecessary illness, suffering and premature death. It is the public questioning, challenging and critical scrutiny of evidence which can motivate scientists and researchers to make new discoveries. It is gracious of you to say that you will admit you are wrong if (when) it is proved to be the case, but the people who get my vote of thanks are those who go out on a limb to stand up for our injured children and to try to defend future generations from the harm that has robbed so many of an independent future. This is made even harder by the huge vested interests, the billions of dollars which are at stake and the massive conflict of interests that undermines the integrity of much medical research in this area, which is largely funded by the very organisations that stand to lose the most if a link between vaccinations and autism is discovered.

  236. mrsP said,

    Autism Parent

    I am very well aware of the asbestos affair, but I fail to see how it has relevance to this discussion. Business using asbestos knowing it was dangerous does not prove that vaccination is dangerous or that it causes autism.

    Your vote of thanks is rather misplaced I am afraid. Your thanks should go to people who support the scientific method, work hard to find ways of managing the severe problems faced by severely affected people with autism and researching causes, instead of encouraging people to wast their time, money and energy on trying to publicise a cause which has been proved not to exist.

  237. jdc325 said,

    James “jdc325″ has a habit of leaving out important information when engaging in his crusades against people who publish facts he does not agree with.

    @ChildHealthSafety,

    Can you please tell me what you are referring to in the above comment? What important information have I left out and when? If what you say is true and I actually do have a habit of doing this, then no doubt you will be able to refresh my memory by telling me what incidents you are referring to.

  238. Paul Lawrence Hayes said,

    @mrsP

    “I am very well aware of the asbestos affair, but I fail to see how it has relevance to this discussion.”

    In the context of the “epidemiology isn’t science“ remarks its relevance is that it illustrates the ironic moral bankruptcy which follows from such intellectual bankruptcy.

  239. Chris said,

    waltb:

    So you will shoot critics down using your own subjective opinion, how scientific.

    It is because the ones you chose have an obvious bias without the relevant education (a polititian!?), and John Scudamore does pick and choose (and don’t tell me Mr. Thrower is unbiased, or has the relevant education). So abide by the rules of real science if you wish to be taken seriously.

    And, again, Thorsen was not a main researcher, he was a minor author. I have yet to see a competent review of the Madsen MMR paper. If you have any by someone who is actually educated in the relevant field you would have posted the title, journal and date of that PubMed indexed paper, not a bunch irrelevant cut and pastes that you don’t seem to understand.

    And that still does not take away that the Lancet study was just a case series of a dozen children who had a variety of symptoms, and several versions of an MMR vaccine (various vaccine strains of measles and mumps components). It really showed nothing other than Wakefield is an incompetent researcher, and should never have been published. And he had absolutely no evidence to even mention single vaccines in the video press conference.

    You cannot prove a negative, but the body of research shows no real connection between any version of the MMR vaccine is associated with autism and a host of other ailments. If you have real evidence to the contrary, you are welcome to present it.

  240. Autism parent said,

    @MrsP
    I’m sorry, I thought the analogy was clear. Let me explain. As you say, business using asbestos knowing it was dangerous does not prove vaccinations cause autism. What it does show is that medical evidence can be – and has recently been – suppressed in the interests of big business and at the cost of the health, well-being and even lives of thousands of people. In the case of the MMR, the pharmaceutical companies are even more powerful than the asbestos manufacturers in that they fund most medical research, and so are in a position to influence its direction. This is the egregious conflict of interests which surely should raise doubts over their motivation to uncover a link between vaccinations and autism.

  241. dingo199 said,

    Ahhh, but JDC, just because you have now published the email exchange in its entirety, how can we know you have not altered the timeline?

    We assume you must have, because if Wakefield can alter timelines in a paper to be published in the Lancet, you certainly can on your blog!

    I demand that you provide me with your hard drive, so it can be forensically examined for any tampering. Right now! And if you don’t then I am gonna skweam and skweam until the dummy pops out of my mouth!

  242. dingo199 said,

    Some smarmy lawyer said, after accusing JDC that he did not publish all the emails, that the burden of proof is paradoxically switched onto JDC to prove he did no such thing.

    Dinkum.

    Now same smarmy lawyer should of course be saying that the burden of proof for Isabella Thomas (having supposedly been accused of knowing other parents of kids in the Wakefield Lancet study) is to show she did not know any of the other parents.

    And if she cannot prove this, then we know for a fact that she did.

  243. dingo199 said,

    It is also the fact that some of the parents who were subsequently seen at the Royal Free Hospital and who were in the Lancet paper had previously been set to sue the MMR manufacturers in a vaccine claim case organised by Dawbarns solicitors.

    It seems unlikely that none of them knew each other.

  244. mrsP said,

    @ autism parent

    Yes of course I understood. So – provide your evidence of the big farmers conspiracy. Shouldnt be difficult to find a whistle blower amongst the thousands of employees, government officials, doctors, nurses etc etc. Shirley, statistically speaking, some of those would have autistic children or be altruistic?

  245. waltb said,

    MrsP

    You well illustrate the power of propaganda even in medicine.

    “They [the medical faithful] accept the evidence that shows it [Wakefield’s paper] was [dodgy].”

    The BMJ accepted Brian Deer’s account of discrepancies between the Lancet team’s diagnoses and childrens’ medical records. Even though he is unqualified. If memory serves, there were about 36 of them. Do you really believe that all 36 of the alleged discrepancies were accurately described by Deer – i.e. the unqualified person got it exactly right over a dozen experts 36 times?

    If you do not believe this, then why did the BMJ not correct him? They stood by and applauded and got the medical rubber stamp out. As I said, they pressed the “Like” button.

    It was false claims about ‘evidence’ and ‘evidence-based medicine’ that made parents of autistic children suspicious in the first place. Now a lot of evidence-based medics are placing their faith in Brian Deer’s review of the evidence. You couldn’t make this up.

    Because of the propaganda by people who should know better, Gemma actually went looking for the randomized placebo controlled trials that proved there was no link between MMR and autism. She will be some time. That’s real faith – but it’s the fault of the medics for maintaining the propaganda.

    “It is the anti vax, pro Wakefield afficionados who “believe”; whose opinions will not change because they do not accept scientific method.”

    Who are you referring to here? I’m just discussing the evidence, me. You are having a hallelujah moment – I’m not saying vaccines are good or bad things but the reality is that the scientific method and vaccination safety are strangers. Anyone who practices what they preach (evidence-based medicine) should realize that – because what has been presented regarding safety isn’t evidence.

  246. waltb said,

    Chris

    “It really showed nothing other than Wakefield is an incompetent researcher”

    Really? And what about the other 12 then. Are you competent to make this judgement?

    “It is because the ones you chose have an obvious bias without the relevant education.”

    What education do you need to work through time frames regarding old computer records? You continue to maintain the pretence that studies like Madsen are clinical. They – are – not.

    “So abide by the rules of real science if you wish to be taken seriously.”

    That let’s you out then. The rules of real science would suggest safety trials not fishy numerical exercises on small data sets. Yet you insist this is “science”. No it’s dogma. It’s not enough to be a scientist, you must also behave scientifically.

    Such is the the power of medical ‘faith’ that many who instinctively support you actually believe that there are placebo RCT’s proving MMR doesn’t cause autism.

    “You cannot prove a negative, but the body of research shows no real connection between any version of the MMR vaccine is associated with autism and a host of other ailments. If you have real evidence to the contrary, you are welcome to present it.”

    THE body of research, you say – but you haven’t presented anything that could not be evaluated by anyone who can count and write competently.

    Meanwhile, the children remained unstudied by the ‘real scientists’ – as the ‘incompetent’ Dr Wakefield reminds us.

  247. Isabella Thomas said,

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/children_shealth/9128147/MMR-doctor-wins-battle-against-being-struck-off.html

    Professor John Walker-Smith, who carried out research into the MMR vaccine with Dr Andrew Wakefield, has won a court battle against being struck off the medical register.

  248. Skepticat_UK said,

    Loving your work, dingo.

    @ChildHealthSafety

    No. 207 “[We note your advice regarding the expression of opinions but we think we might want to avoid following that particular advice. jdc325/James of course can follow whatever advice he chooses.]”

    I wasn’t offering you advice, I telling you about English libel law. I refer you to the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of British Chiropractic Association v Singh [2011]1 WLR 133, particularly [23].

    Anyway, I see that James has pandered to your utterly irrelevant request and published the rest of the email exchange and you can see how wrong you were when you said in No. 210,

    “So it is a fair inference that other things were written by jdc325/James which have not been published which any journalist would have justifiable objections to,”

    Time you tucked in to a nice plate of humble pie. Bon appetit.

  249. Autism parent said,

    @MrsP
    I’m not sure I completely understand your post. My name isn’t Shirley and I didn’t say anything about farmers. But bear in mind, the asbestos scandal was hushed up for at least 50 years, which is a very depressing thought, given that the pharmaceutical industry is much more powerful. And, in this case, I don’t think the research has been undertaken and is being suppressed – they have so much power that they can stop research being carried out in the first place. Why do you think none of the children who have regressed into autism after vaccination have ever been studied? The typical response from a GP to a parent who experiences this is: “It’s just coincidence. It would have happened anyway.” Simply brushed under the carpet. How many times has this happened, will this continue to happen, before it’s investigated?

  250. jdc325 said,

    I demand that you provide me with your hard drive…

    You’re moving the goalposts far too quickly and not leaving yourself enough room for further manoeuvres.

    You’ve obviously not had as much practice as the tag team posting under the pseudonym Child Health Safety… ;)

  251. dingo199 said,

    Well maybe you could give me your floppy?

  252. dingo199 said,

    Isabella, seeing as how you are here, do you think you could clear up any possible misunderstanding or misinterpretation and confirm that you have never had contact with any of the other “Lancet 12″ families before the Wakefield study was published in 1998?
    Thank you.

  253. ChildHealthSafety said,

    jdc325 [June 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm]

    We were going to say top marks to jdc325/James for publishing the exchanges with Sue Reid. Unfortunately, on examination that has not happened.

    The last email in the exchange posted here [June 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm] is an email from James/jdc325 dated Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 4:54 PM.

    There is something missing. There is nothing between the email of that date and time and what jdc325 has posted above as Sue Reid’s reply the text of which jdc325/James has posted as follows:

    “Dear James, I see no reason why you would want to put this in the public domain, unless you wish to invite a libel action regarding your statements of my professional reporting skills. Sue”

    So where are the missing emails? And if we are wrong we will be happy to be corrected on that.

  254. ChildHealthSafety said,

    jdc325 [June 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm]

    said “the tag team posting under the pseudonym Child Health Safety”.

    Correct this if it is wrong but a tag team is normally two people?

  255. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Skepticat_UK [June 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm]

    Said:
    “I wasn’t offering you advice, I telling you about English libel law. I refer you to the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of British Chiropractic Association v Singh [2011]1 WLR 133, particularly [23].”

    Para 23 contains the following:
    “… the material words, ….., are in our judgment expressions of opinion.”

    So what Simon Singh did was get involved in an expensive legal case which he could easily have avoided by saying what he said in a different manner. The case was resolved on the basis of an opinion of the Court of Appeal which could have gone either way.

    It could just as easily been argued that an experienced journalist could have said the same thing in a different way and avoided the legal case completely.

    As to your comment that James/jdc325 has finally posted the exchanges with Sue Reid:

    “Time you tucked in to a nice plate of humble pie. Bon appetit.”

    Clearly not as our recent posting suggests is the case,

  256. Chris said,

    waltb:

    Really? And what about the other 12 then. Are you competent to make this judgement?

    Like the ones that withdrew ones they found out what happened?

    You continue to maintain the pretence that studies like Madsen are clinical.

    When did I say that? They are epidemiological studies. You know that thing your friends are saying is not a science, yet are citing tobacco studies.

    Such is the the power of medical ‘faith’ that many who instinctively support you actually believe that there are placebo RCT’s proving MMR doesn’t cause autism.

    What does that mean? There have been no random controlled tests to prove MMR does or does not cause anything. There is a reason for that, it is called ethics in human subject research. If you are unsatisfied, then you can go and design your own study, make sure it conforms to international rules on the use of human subjects like the Declarations of Helsinki, write a grant and then go to SafeMinds, Autism Trust, and others to fund the study. Then go do it.

    Meanwhile, the children remained unstudied by the ‘real scientists’ – as the ‘incompetent’ Dr Wakefield reminds us.

    And who are those “real” scientists? Would that be Mr. Thrower, John Stone, Clifford Miller (who did study physics) and yourself? And exactly which country is Dr. Wakefield allowed to practice medicine?

  257. waltb said,

    “Like the ones that withdrew ones they found out what happened?”

    That’s just a punch looking for a target. Point is, you claimed Wakefield was not a competent researcher – admittedly only for strawman reasons – in a study with a dozen researchers. I’m getting confused – I thought it was the campaigners that were supposed to be peddling the silly conspiracies.

    On maintaining the pretence that studies like Madsen are clinical:

    “When did I say that? They are epidemiological studies. You know that thing your friends are saying is not a science, yet are citing tobacco studies.”

    Er,

    “I do not see medically qualified persons providing those critiques” [Chris]

    “If you are going to claim that Madsen’s study was fatally flawed that you present the title, journal and date of a PubMed indexed critique from someone who is scientifically qualified to give a competent review” [Chris]

    “And who are those “real” scientists? Would that be Mr. Thrower, John Stone, Clifford Miller (who did study physics) and yourself?” [Chris]

    If you can’t even be honest about your own stance Chris…..

  258. waltb said,

    Sorry – the last post was to Chris

  259. waltb said,

    Chris

    When I mentioned things like the power of propaganda and faith etc, I wasn’t just taking a Chris-style potshot.

    “There have been no random controlled tests to prove MMR does or does not cause anything. There is a reason for that, it is called ethics in human subject research”

    Ducking the point which was that the pretence that the scientific method prevails in vaccination policy is even fooling the medics – several supporters have quoted it already.

  260. Skepticat_UK said,

    @CSH

    Your speculation about how BCA v Singh might have been different is irrelevant. The point you seem unable to grasp is that Singh’s contention that chiropractors “happily promote bogus therapies” was deemed to be an opinion he was entitled to express in a national daily newspaper, even if that opinion were wrong. The notion that a journalist could sue a blogger for expressing an opinion on her “professional reporting skills” is risible and Sue Reid knows this. Her libel threat was as empty as her anti-vax arguments.

    Your obsession with the idea that James must be hiding some defamatory statement he has made – an idea that you alone have promulgated here – has served no purpose other than to waste space and highlight how blinkered and ridiculous you are.

  261. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Skepticat_UK [June 27, 2012 at 10:43 am]

    Thanks. James/jdc325 posted what looked like the email exchanges but there appears to be missing material.

    James/jdc325 is promulgating that impression.

    He can also choose to follow your advice. Singh was fortunate the Court of Appeal took the view it did on the facts of his case.

    James/jdc325 can take his chances. He has “form” however. He also appears to be part of and/or associates himself with Ben Goldacre’s “posse” – some of whose members appear to engage in widespread internet bullying and harassment.

    But what this all does appear to show is jdc325/James published this page to give the appearance he was threatened over the exchanges he has published but he appears not to have published all the exchanges and particularly those leading up to the threat.

    Now frankly very poor behaviour is the mildest we can put it.

    And thanks for the abuse insults and disparagment.

  262. Tailmange said,

    @CHS Your ‘missing’ email is the very first email shown at the top of the blog entry.

  263. spanner said,

    I realise I’m a little late to the party here, but would like to say some things.

    First, this is quite interesting: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21882-antidepressants-in-water-trigger-autism-genes-in-fish.html

    My qualification is in another field, but the involvement of epigenetic studies of any kind would suggest to me that environmental factors may contribute to, but are unlikely to be the sole cause of, such conditions. Read the paper they link to, it’s interesting and PLoS is free.
    _

    @Autism parent
    “chick embryonic fluid”
    Egg yolk?

    “As you say, business using asbestos knowing it was dangerous does not prove vaccinations cause autism. What it does show is that medical evidence can be – and has recently been – suppressed in the interests of big business and at the cost of the health, well-being and even lives of thousands of people. ”

    I seem to recall the passing of legislation in some parts of North America, to define asbestos as a specific form of (depending on the location) either serpentine or amphibole mineral, so that various preferred asbestiform materials could still be used without reference to safety concerns. The medical information wasn’t suppressed (been around in some form since 1964, off the top of my head), but neither was it as widely available as it is today, and the legal formalities were brought in so that concerns based on it could be ignored by courts. Was that really the point you wanted to make in the context of this topic?

    Interesting – but a bit lengthy – reading at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=13404
    and identified risks mentioned at http://www.worldtradelaw.net/reports/wtopanelsfull/ec-asbestos(panel)(full).pdf
    “Asbestos: Medical and legal aspects” (pub. 1986) is a bit on the OTT side in some of its expressions, but also okay, and you may like to look at http://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib072606.html

    Mine safety classes FTW, or something.
    _

    @ChildHealthSafety
    I’m a (broadly) neurotypical social avoidant. When my parents expressed concern to my GP over autistic-like behaviours in adulthood, she stated that symptoms of autism and ASD start to present unambiguously before the age of 3. Given this information, and that the cause of my problem is traceable to the age of 8, with effects becoming prominent in early adolescence, I’m sceptical of your claim.
    “[T]he average age of diagnosis of Aspergers is 9. So there would be a gradual increase in overall prevalence of autistic conditions as diagnoses were made of the first birth cohort in 1984, and that of the next cohort in 1985 and so on with a steady but significant incremental increase year on year.”

    Nevertheless, if your view is soundly based, there should be at least a decade of data supporting it, which hasn’t been presented.
    _

    With reference to my own circumstances, those of people I know with autistic or autistic-like problems, and earlier comments about treatment of autistic individuals, it does seem to be polarised. People have previously jumped to conclusions about my behaviour, and split about equally between those who use terms like “retard”, or suggested that I’m inherently defective, and those who simply see an issue, suggest a way of dealing with it on a short-term basis (usually a compromise between what makes each of us more comfortable), and move on. Not every genuine autistic or ASD-affected person is in a position to do the latter, and so the account of negative attitudes is shocking, but not surprising.

    If someone is unable to speak to you at a given time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are incapable of hearing and understanding the words you say to (or about) them.

  264. Chris said,

    waltb:

    Ducking the point which was that the pretence that the scientific method prevails in vaccination policy is even fooling the medics – several supporters have quoted it already.

    You really are not making any sense.

    Seriously, if you don’t like the dozen or epidemiological studies, then design one yourself. Just make sure that no children are harmed if they get a placebo instead of a vaccine. And with an outbreak of measles in Europe you will have to figure out how to do that, and I am quite curious how you would even plan to do that.

    Now, tell us again who are the “real” scientists.

  265. How to Determine If A Controversial Statement Is Scientifically True « Ruined for Life: Phoenix Edition said,

    [...] Sue Reid on MMR in the Daily Mail (jdc325.wordpress.com) [...]

  266. Autism parent said,

    @spanner
    Chick embryonic fluid is not egg yolk, but proteins and fluid taken from the brain cavity of early developmental chicks. It is also known as chick embryonic cerebrospinal fluid and is an ingredient in the MMR vaccine.

    This link explains how the asbestos industry covered up research linking asbestos to cancer starting in the 1930’s and continuing for decades:

    http://www.mesothelioma.co/asbestos/asbestos-industry-cover-up/altered-medical-research.aspx

  267. spanner said,

    @Autism parent

    Mesothelioma and silicosis have both been problems for miners – and still are, to this day. I’m more inclined to trust developing epidemiological studies in the early decades of the 20th century, and all the studies since building to the full body of evidence supporting what we know now, than I am the words of campaigners with any potential axe to grind – either way – or state legislators or judiciary who act out of convenience rather than on scientific evidence. The latter is more relevant to the original post here.

    Thank you for your explanation, the meaning of the phrase was not made clear. Could you now please let me know where you got that information from, and show me what exactly is wrong with it, beyond the “euw.” factor, and any points which would also apply to vegetarianism?

  268. mrsP said,

    @Autism Parent

    ” How can anyone possibly tell that they don’t have some kind of allergy or sensitivity to any of the weird and wonderful vaccine ingredients – formaldehyde, mercury, chick embryonic fluid, aborted fetal tissue, albumin etc. And how can you be sure that their immune system is strong enough to cope with multiple viruses? It’s playing Russian roulette with our babies.”

    I thought you might be interested to read the link below. Additives to various vaccines are put in for good reasons and may seem weird and wonderful to us lay people but they are obviously monitored carefully for safety. Vaccines need to be stable, sterile and effective. The incidence of anaphylactic shock is 1 in a million and no deaths have been recorded and you get more mercury in a tuna sandwich than from the few vaccines that still contain some. People are screened before vaccination for illness and allergies.

    People who do not vaccinate are the ones playing Russian roulette, not just with their own kids but with other peoples’.

    Have not had time to respond to your other posts, but I do not think there is any point talking any more about the big pharma conspiracy anyway and Chris I think answered other points about RCTs. Epidemiological research is good science. How could you do an RCT to prove effectiveness of a vaccine when you know that the diseases they prevent are lethal in some cases? Tough if you’re the kid who having got the sterile saline succumbs to measles encephalitis.

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/additives.htm

    CDC is a very good site to learn about vaccines as is our own NHS site.

  269. dingo199 said,

    @Isabella

    “Professor John Walker-Smith, who carried out research into the MMR vaccine with Dr Andrew Wakefield, has won a court battle against being struck off the medical register”

    You may want to take a rain check there.
    Walker Smith won his appeal to the High Court because he said he had no idea what he was doing at Wakefield’s behest was “research”.
    They gave him the benefit of the doubt.

  270. dingo199 said,

    @Autism parent
    Where do you get the idea that there is chicken embryonic cerebrospinal fluid in MMR vaccine?
    The virus is propagated on chick embryo fibroblasts.

  271. jdc325 said,

    @ChildHealthSafety,

    So where are the missing emails? And if we are wrong we will be happy to be corrected on that.

    There are no missing emails. See the email exchange at the very beginning of my post for those exchanged after 4.54pm. You can see from the screenshot I’ve added to the end of my post that there were two exchanges – the first regarding the Mail piece (9 emails) and the second regarding publishing the correspondence (2 emails). You will note that the text of 11 emails in total appeared in the post I wrote (i.e. all 9 of the original emails re the article and both the subsequent emails re publishing the exchange). I have already pasted the 9 emails from the first exchange (with dates and times) in a comment above. See below the two emails from the second exchange (with dates & times).

    From: Sue Reid
    Date: Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 5:01 PM
    Subject: RE: Correspondence re MMR
    To: James

    Dear James, I see no reason why you would want to put this in the public domain, unless you wish to invite a libel action regarding your statements of my professional reporting skills. Sue

    From: James
    Sent: 19 June 2012 16:58
    To: Sue Reid
    Subject: Correspondence re MMR

    Dear Sue,

    I have found our correspondence very interesting and I think others might be similarly interested in reading it. I would like to ask your permission to publish our exchange publicly. Please let me know whether you would be amenable to this, and (if so) whether you might have any conditions regarding publication.

    Kind regards,
    James

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    Between the two exchanges, there were a total of 11 emails. All were published in the original post. All have now been pasted into comments here. There is a screenshot showing two exchanges, with a total of 11 emails.

  272. jdc325 said,

    @ChildHealthSafety,

    I note that you have not answered the comment I left at 3pm yesterday.

  273. waltb said,

    Chris

    You say

    “You really are not making any sense”, but it is you who isn’t making sense.

    “Seriously, if you don’t like the dozen or epidemiological studies, then design one yourself. Just make sure that no children are harmed if they get a placebo instead of a vaccine. And with an outbreak of measles in Europe you will have to figure out how to do that, and I am quite curious how you would even plan to do that.”

    Are you missing the point deliberately? Again – the point was that in vaccination safety, the studies that you call “the rules of real science” are not there – but the medical world pretends that they are anyway.

    So tell the truth about the state of the ‘medical’ (not) evidence. Simple really, and the public will have more faith.

  274. Autism parent said,

    @mrsP
    ‘Additives to various vaccines . . . are obviously monitored carefully for safety’
    Sorry, not convinced! I don’t see how you can inject all these highly toxic / allergenic substances into babies and say they’re carefully monitored!
    ‘People are screened before vaccination for illness and allergies.’
    How is it possible to know whether a two month old baby has allergies?
    ‘no deaths have been recorded’
    This is not true. Read this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3336455/Secret-report-reveals-18-child-deaths-following-vaccinations.html
    I haven’t got time to respond to all the other points or to continue with this thread.

  275. ChildHealthSafety said,

    jdc325 [June 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm]

    Thanks James/jdc325. You appear now to have published [June 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm] emails with the headers so people can track the timeline and have now eventually explained.

    This piece of your correspondence appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding or intentional misrepresentation – you can tell us which. What you wrote regarding the Italian judgement is false:

    “….. the judgement reflects the opinion of one person (albeit apparently supported by three medical professionals) ……”.

    The judgement reflected the 1) position of The Italian Ministry of Health – which did not contest the expert evidence 2) the Court appointed independent expert 3) the other two medical experts who also came to the same conclusion.

    The judgement did not reflect the opinion of the judge. A judge has no choice but to follow the evidence when it is uncontested. That is what makes this case important.

    You also wrote – knowing full well it is not correct:

    ” ….. whereas medical consensus on MMR and autism is supported by robust evidence ……..”

    In writing this you repeatedly fail to acknowledge 1) the US HRSA confirmed to CBS News that vaccines in general cause autistic conditions 2) that the CDC Director confirmed on US national broadcast television that vaccines can cause autistic conditions – [whilst claiming it was associated with mitochondrial dysfunction which is rare - which it appears is not].

    There is more but that will do for the moment.

    But worse still is you suggest a professional journalist is not responsible to publish a factual account of a factual story regarding an important Court decision.

    Now, where can you claim your “opinion” has a shred of justification?

  276. Chris said,

    I am not missing the point deliberately, because you are not making any sense. The rules of real science include epidemiological studies. It is not my job to teach you how to use statistics or the ethics of human subject studies.

    You are making a claim that “real” scientists have not done the proper studies. So tell us who those “real” scientists are, and how you would properly do the study, yet still make sure no child is injured.

  277. Chris said,

    Ooop, my comment is to waltb. He seems to think there is only one kind of way to do science, and I want him to tell us who the “real” scientists are, and how he proposes to study the MMR with a randomly controlled trial without children being harmed from measles or mumps because they only received a placebo.

  278. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Chris [June 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm]

    Sorry but with this statement none of what you say can be taken seriously:

    “The rules of real science include epidemiological studies.”

    Statistical studies are not science – period.

    Observational studies are not science – period.

    Epidemiological studies are not science – period.

  279. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Chris [June 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm]

    Oh and Chris, can we have a citation for where the “The rules of real science” can be found? And where they say the include epidemiological studies?

  280. Chris said,

    CHS, what gives you the power to decide what is or is not science, your law degree?

    So do tell us how you would study the MMR vaccine without harm coming to children who received a placebo.

  281. jdc325 said,

    @ChildHealthSafety,

    I disagree with your assessment of what the judgement reflects. I’ll leave it at that for now, I think.

    You also wrote – knowing full well it is not correct:

    ” ….. whereas medical consensus on MMR and autism is supported by robust evidence ……..”

    In writing this you repeatedly fail to acknowledge 1) the US HRSA confirmed to CBS News that vaccines in general cause autistic conditions 2) that the CDC Director confirmed on US national broadcast television that vaccines can cause autistic conditions – [whilst claiming it was associated with mitochondrial dysfunction which is rare - which it appears is not].

    The consensus on MMR and autism, as referred to by Sue Reid, is supported by the evidence I already referred to in my post. I consider the evidence to be relatively robust – certainly more robust than any contrary evidence I am aware of. I can’t even see where you have cited any evidence that contradicts that which I have referenced. You refer to two statements in your comment regarding my statement. Do you consider the opinions of the HRSA and the CDC Director to be evidence? I consider them to be opinions.

    Now, you have alleged that I have written something “knowing full well it is not correct”. That’s clearly not true. You must know full well that you could not possibly defend that allegation. Perhaps instead of pretending that I am lying, you could present the evidence that supports your assertions?

  282. Chris said,

    jdc:

    Do you consider the opinions of the HRSA and the CDC Director to be evidence?

    Even the quote CHS gave from HRSA did not support his claim. The HRSA just confirmed that a certain number of compensations had been made for encephalitis/encephalopathy and seizure disorders, which is not synonymous with autism. In fact on their statistics page they make this point: “**HHS has never concluded in any case that autism was caused by vaccination.”

    This is the level of veracity you can get from CHS.

    Who for some reason thinks he can dictate what is or is not science. I’ll have to tell my old boss that the Fourier transforms and statistical analyses we did on vibration studies were not valid because it was mathematics, and not science. I’m sure he’ll be surprised that we must take the word of a lawyer on something he worked on for thirty years (he even saw Bessel equations in his coffee mug).

  283. ChildHealthSafety said,

    jdc325 [June 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm]

    Tell us how you can claim the evidence is robust when two major US Health Departments with extensive medical and scientific expertise and resources confirm vaccines cause autistic conditions.

    Then tell us how also The Italian Ministry of Health came to the same conclusion if your evidence is robust.

    Then tell us how an independent expert appointed to advise the Italian Court came to the same conclusion if your evidence is robust.

    Tell us how the other two experts in the case came to the same conclusion if your evidence is robust.

    Then tell us how a judge in a different Italian Court in a different case – contested by The Italian Health Ministry also came to the same conclusion if your evidence is robust.

    Then tell us how the US Federal “Vaccine” Court came to the same conclusion in the Hannah Poling case and in the Bailey Banks case if your evidence is robust.

    Tell us James. Tell all of us. We would all like to know.

    You dismiss it as “the opinions of the HRSA and the CDC Director”. But it blows a huge hole in your claim that the evidence to support your views is robust.

    It clearly is not and your claim it is cannot be taken to be true. And you suggestion there is a medical consensus also cannot be taken to be true because clearly there is no consensus.

    You asked us about your habit of leaving out important information. All of the above falls into that category.

  284. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Chris [June 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm]

    Said “CHS, what gives you the power to decide what is or is not science”.

    Provide the citation to the “The rules of real science” which say they include epidemiological studies.

    You won’t find one because epidemiological studies are not science.

    But please do try.

  285. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Chris [June 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm]

    US HRSA confirming vaccines cause autistic conditions:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/2102-31727_162-20016356.html

    “We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.”

    And of course – all the other evidence already referred to also confirms it is accepted by others that vaccines cause autistic conditions.

  286. Chris said,

    Answer my question: what gives you the power to decide what is or is not science?

    And as a point of calling for citations, you have once answered my question of why the incidence (morbidity) of measles plummeted 90% between 1960 and 1970 in the USA. So do try telling us what gives you the power to decide what constitutes science.

  287. ChildHealthSafety said,

    jdc325 [June 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm]

    Says “I disagree with your assessment of what the judgement reflects.”

    Unacceptable. You claim a journalist is irresponsible for publishing a factual account of a factual event which facts you do not like and now show you did not check your facts first.

    Hmmmm – something is “fact” if you agree with it and “opinion” if you do not.

  288. Chris said,

    By the way, here is a cite on the rules of science. Your good friend Andy Wakefield should have followed the criteria.

    Now, tell us what gives you the power to determine what constitutes science. Do tell us exactly how you would study the MMR vaccine without harming children in the placebo group.

  289. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Chris [June 27, 2012 at 6:42 pm] and [June 27, 2012 at 6:53 pm].

    You are the one saying epidemiology is science. It is not. We do not determine that.

    We asked you for a citation and you did not provide one.

  290. waltb said,

    @ Chris

    “I am not missing the point deliberately, because you are not making any sense. The rules of real science include epidemiological studies. It is not my job to teach you how to use statistics or the ethics of human subject studies.”

    So CHS has got something right. Chris decides what is included in the rules of real science! That does simplify the debate :-).

    You put the silliness of talking about ‘real scientists” onto me. Please let me refresh your memory, it was you who said

    “So abide by the rules of real science if you wish to be taken seriously.”

    hence my parody of “real scientists” replying to the same post. If you cannot follow your own thread, please don’t suggest teaching me about statistics.

    You still insist I “make sure no child is injured” when in fact all I ask is that you come clean over the absence of any strong evidence refuting a MMR-autism link, and be honest about the nature of the existing evidence that you and JDC claim is ‘proof’.

    That means when you hear medics, groupies and the honest faithful talking about ‘the scientific method’, RCTs and ‘robust evidence’ of no MMR-autism link, correct them!

  291. Ben Lee said,

    Walt – of course there is no RCT level evidence re mmr, autism etc. And the reasons why have been explained to you. There will never be RCT trials done.

    What level of evidence are you looking for? If epi studies arent enough for you what is it you want/will accept?

  292. ChildHealthSafety said,

    Ben Lee [June 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm]

    said “What level of evidence are you looking for? …. what is it you want/will accept?”

    Well maybe waltb might be prepared to accept the evidence that convinced The Italian Health Ministry not to contest the recent Rimini Court case.

  293. spanner said,

    … I’m a little confused here. People are dismissing “the scientific method”, while discussing something on the Internet. The fact that computers, Web-enabled mobile devices, and the Internet itself work would tend to suggest that the approach has some merits, if not necessarily – in the view of some of the commenters – in the field under discussion.

    I also don’t really get what the issue with the available studies is. If you can see something wrong, methodologically, it makes more sense to suggest a study design which takes account of that and deals with it, and pass it to someone who can fund it or carry it out, than to figuratively-shout at a stranger on the Internet about it. If it’s one flaw, your design would only have to change from what already exists to account for that. If it’s something structural, there has to be some question over why you accept any other kind of medical intervention tested in the same way.

    The international rules, that people undertaking studies have to follow, exist purely because horrible things were done in the past – and not with the best of intentions – when they weren’t both extant and enforced. Acceptable risk criteria are therefore really quite important.

  294. jdc325 said,

    @ChildHealthSafety

    Hmmmm – something is “fact” if you agree with it and “opinion” if you do not.

    You seem to be describing your position here rather than mine. You ignore the actual evidence regarding MMR and vaccination (presumably because it is inconvenient) and you present opinions as if they were evidence.

  295. jdc325 said,

    @ChildHealthSafety

    I see you have still not replied to the comment I flagged up earlier. It seems you are better at asking questions than you are at answering them. Perhaps you can answer this one:

    Here, you write that “By 2007 the chance of anyone in England and Wales dying of measles if no one were vaccinated was less than 1 in 55 million.” This is my question: were you being deliberately, cynically dishonest when you wrote that or are you actually stupid enough to believe that data on measles mortality in a country that routinely vaccinates against measles can support a statement on the odds of anyone in that country dying of measles if no-one were vaccinated?

  296. ChildHealthSafety said,

    jdc325 [June 27, 2012 at 8:57 pm]

    Still waiting for your answer to this:

    https://jdc325.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/sue-reid-on-mmr-in-the-daily-mail/#comment-13576

  297. ChildHealthSafety said,

    spanner [June 27, 2012 at 7:49 pm]

    said

    “… I’m a little confused here. People are dismissing “the scientific method”, while discussing something on the Internet. The fact that computers, Web-enabled mobile devices, and the Internet itself work would tend to suggest that the approach has some merits … ”

    Hi spanner. The scientific method is not being dismissed. What is said is that epidemiological studies are not science. That is true.

  298. dingo199 said,

    Some smarmy lawyer might have said:

    “Booo hooo!! ….I get to say what science is, not you!!
    And I don’t care how many hundreds of studies you cite to show I am wrong, I know I am right because some seppo in the US said encephalopathy can result in a multitude of neurological symptoms that include some autistic behaviours.
    And vaccines can cause encephalopathy!!! Ok i know it’s around a thousand times less than when you get the disease, but that is still proof vaccines cause autism, if you gloss over the fact that autistic behaviours are not the same as autism that is. But shhhhh! I don’t want people to think shifty, smarmy lawyers ever tell porkies.
    And now don’t ask me for any other bodgy proof cos I haven’t got any!!
    Believe me or I will thkweam and thkweam and throw all my toys out the pram!
    No worries there!
    ………..Waaaahhh!”

  299. dingo199 said,

    Smarmy lawyers might like to think about this comment allegedly provided in a link allegedly posted earlier by one of them, allegedly:

    “It is analogous to a courtroom, where you are innocent until proven guilty. In science, there is no link, unless or until there are data proving a link.”

  300. spanner said,

    “The scientific method is not being dismissed. What is said is that epidemiological studies are not science. ”

    When the term is used in inverted commas, or with words suggesting a disparaging tone, that is what I take away from it. I did point out before that I have a bit of an issue in this area.

    However, to your other point, and in such a context: why not? The major distinction from a fully controlled study is that nobody is being deprived of an intervention that may prevent harm, and that is because the probability of serious harm without the intervention is generally held to be higher than with it. The distinction from anecdotal evidence of things-that-have-happened is that much larger numbers are involved, and so there is a better chance of spotting adverse effects, as well as relating their relative prevalence to the population as a whole.

    As you’ve otherwise expressed your opinion: why is it that maths is held to be in the same category as the physical sciences elsewhere, and statistical analyses are required for most quantitative chemical analysis (as an example), yet statistics are “not science”… how is that supposed to work?

    You read very angry, and seem to spend a lot of time calling out the OP on either saying things he hasn’t said – although not necessarily things you wouldn’t be able to infer – or else dismissing him for either expressing a view (which we all, posting here, have) or for his perceived associations.

    The most vocal people who have posted here in support of the journalist referred to seem to be personally offended by the idea that there might possibly be some sort of legitimate medical research out there, relating to the claim, but not supporting it. They also seem to ignore that there are previous cases of legislative measures being made which are unsupported by any scientific evidence, which is my interest here. You’ll have seen me referring to mining; the case, also in Italy, concerning meetings prior to the earthquake in L’Aquila – most particularly the assertions that seismologists were brought in more for PR purposes than actual planning – bothers me as well, and leaves me with as little faith in the scientific basis for any legal decision in Italy as you have in that for vaccine safety.

    I’m tired, and apparently emotional in a non-euphemistic sense. Goodnight.

  301. ChrisP said,

    ChildHealthSafety, you keep saying that epidemiological studies are not science. On what basis do you make this claim? Epidemiological studies are for hypothesis development. Since when has hypothesis development not been part of the scientific method?

    I could explain to you in great detail what epidemiological studies are and are not good for, but that would mean talking about statistics. I see you also think statistical studies are not science either.

    You really are an ignorant person posting on the internet aren’t you?

  302. Chris said,

    ChrisP, I am afraid CHS is looking at things through a lawyer’s eyes. If there is evidence that he does not like, he will ignore it.

    I sometimes wonder if he and Autism Parent are convinced that smoking does not cause cancer because that link was established by epidemiology, especially by Richard Doll’s research, or that mosquitoes don’t actually spread malaria because of Ronald Ross’s mathematical models.

    They like to pick and choose what “science” they like. Apparently Wakefield’s study on a dozen specifically chosen children is more robust than the hundreds studied by Dr. Brent Taylor, or the tens of thousands in Finland, Denmark, Japan, Canada and USA.

    I am still waiting for one of them to design a study they would find acceptable, but would not put a child given only a placebo vaccine in danger of harm from a real disease, like what happened to my oldest son. I love the claim that they can’t do that because “I am not a scientist”, but they are perfectly comfortable telling us that the science that has been done is not adequate. Oh, and refusing to name those “real” scientists.

  303. dingo199 said,

    I was hoping that any lawyers/solicitors here who previously said they would award JDC “top marks” for publishing all the emails in full will now promptly do so, and humbly eat crow for suggesting there was any correspondence being deliberately held back.

    You know, the same one who demands that posters here get down “on their knees” to grovel in apology should they be wrong.

    But then, maybe the guy isn’t really a solicitor. I guess you need some brains and reasoning ability to get through law school. The maxim “guilty until proven innocent” is also odd for some legal eagle, unless they are antivaccine claim lawyers with an agenda I suppose.

  304. Skeptics with a K – Episode #075 « The Merseyside Skeptics Society said,

    [...] more on the MMR story, see the Stuff And Nonsense [...]

  305. waltb said,

    Ben Lee the issue is the misrepresenting of the existing science.

    “Walt – of course there is no RCT level evidence re mmr, autism etc. And the reasons why have been explained to you. There will never be RCT trials done.”

    But the medical establishment does not say to concerned parents

    “Of course we don’t have the best evidence of safety. This will never be done”

    They say

    “The evidence is overwhelming”
    “A dozen studies have refuted the link”
    “Nothing in the way of evidence will convince you” etc.

    Can you spot the difference?

    Spanner says

    “… I’m a little confused here. People are dismissing “the scientific method”, while discussing something on the Internet.”

    Your first statement is correct. People are not dismissing “the scientific method”, but pointing out that it is absent from the field of safety studies on MMR. What we have is PR and spin instead. It was Madsen himself (aforementioned Danish study, though that was worse) who pointed out previous studies were under-powered to find a link.

    Sadly, people talk about “the scientific method” as if the mere mention of the term should convince doubters. Rather than participate in this straightforward mis-selling of the product, the PR people here should examine the goods themselves.

  306. waltb said,

    JDC325

    “Smarmy lawyers” – 5 occurrences

    Second time of asking

    Are you going to do anything about the ritual insults or abuse on your blog?

    If you say nothing people might imagine that you approve.

  307. Ben Lee said,

    Walt :

    Ok, again, I ask you what level of evidence would you accept? Bearing in mind no RCT will ever be done for reasons explained to you.

    “Of course we don’t have the best evidence of safety. This will never be done”

    Re the best evidence of safety – I don’t understand what you mean by this? What is the best level of safety? If you mean RCT then this cannot be done, thus cannot be described in this scenario as the best means of collecting data.

    Best evidence reflects the best available data in the field in question. In this case they are epidemiological in nature. The reasons for this have been explained to you.

    What type of study would you like to see in its place? How would these be done?

  308. ChrisP said,

    waltb, so what size link do you think there would be if studies are underpowered to find that link?

  309. spanner said,

    “People are not dismissing “the scientific method”, but pointing out that it is absent from the field of safety studies on MMR. What we have is PR and spin instead.”

    We have had – and still have – people looking at available cases, examining mechanisms, and trying to find out how things work, to see if there is correlation and/or causation with a range of factors. There are still studies being undertaken in relation to the causes of autism (see above). There are still studies into how to diagnose the condition reliably, such as http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21979-phenotype-of-autism-captured-in-diagnostic-test.html
    In short, real-world data collection.
    We have other people who are qualified in the area, looking at what the first set have published, and looking for any misrepresentation, inadequate representation, problems with the method they’ve used, inconsistencies in their data handling, and logical flaws in their interpretations – in short, peer review. This has led to adverse consequences for Mr. Wakefield, as has retrospective ethics-board-style consideration of some of the choices he made while carrying out that research. PR – in his case, a press conference – is unfortunately divorced from peer review, or else we’d hear a hell of a lot less from Susan Greenfield.

    But still, when did data collection (to find out what really happens in relation to a hypothesis), statistical analysis (to determine significance of the observations made, in context) and peer review (to check that the first two steps ‘work’) stop being an integral part of science in practice?

  310. dingo199 said,

    Someone seems to have had their cage rattled by all the jabber.
    So “smarmy” is now a grievous insult or term of abuse?
    What a sheltered life some people must lead. Is this your first time posting on the internet or something?

    What is insulting is the notion that people will conspire to deliberately exaggerate vaccine reactions with the intent to stop others protecting their infants. Anyone need reminders of cases like Dana McCaffrey?

    http://stopavn.com/

  311. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    Probably time to say again “Won’t someone please think of the children!”

    While all this energy is spent by parents and advocates prosecuting their campaign against vaccines they deflect energy and resources away from the search for the actual causes of autism. The more they fixate on the vaccine issue the more damage they do. It is completely self-defeating and unhelpful to the children themselves.

  312. jdc325 said,

    waltb, ChildHealthSafety has falsely alleged that I have written something “knowing full well it is not correct”. You don’t appear to have complained about this. Yet you have complained about the use of the phrase “smarmy lawyers” by another poster. Is it only unacceptable to be rude to people on your side of the argument? As you’ve brought up acceptability of comments, I think that ChildHealthSafety’s comments here are pretty outrageous – certainly far, far worse than any reference to “smarmy lawyers”. What do you think I should do about them?

  313. jdc325 said,

    @ChildHealthSafety re http://jdc325.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/sue-reid-on-mmr-in-the-daily-mail/#comment-13576 you seem to be suggesting that the opinions you quote call into doubt the reliability of the available evidence. I would suggest that you have this backwards – the available evidence should cast doubt on the validity of contrary opinions.

    If you can support your philosophical position that we should give opinions primacy over evidence then I’d like to see you do so here.

  314. dingo199 said,

    Yes, go on Walt.
    Tell us what quality of evidence would you accept? What type of study would knock your socks off?
    Fill us in on the proposed hypothesis to be explored, the design, the methodology, the sample size, the power and the type of statistical analysis you would like to see.

  315. waltb said,

    Hi JDC

    “waltb, ChildHealthSafety has falsely alleged that I have written something “knowing full well it is not correct”. You don’t appear to have complained about this. Yet you have complained about the use of the phrase “smarmy lawyers” by another poster. Is it only unacceptable to be rude to people on your side of the argument?”

    The first is an allegation for which the evidence is currently being debated. The second is a simple, personal insult. The first is not rude. The second is.

    “What do you think I should do about them?”

    Refute them, of course, if you are able.

    It’s your forum JDC, you can if you want have your fan club breaking wind over your opponents if you think it helps convince people of the scientific robustness of your case.

    BTW I also believe you wrote something “knowing full well it is not correct”. People often do this when arguing a case. You also wrote

    “the evidence shows there is no link”

    which admittedly, perhaps, qualifies as the lesser sin of passing opinion as fact – but since your quibble with Sue Reid is about evidence especially robustness, I can’t give you the benefit of the doubt on this one. You’d be telling her on the one hand that it’s all about the robustness of the scientific evidence and on the other to pass on to the readers your opinion of the evidence as fact, if you see what I mean.

  316. waltb said,

    Dingo199,

    “Someone seems to have had their cage rattled by all the jabber.
    So “smarmy” is now a grievous insult or term of abuse?
    What a sheltered life some people must lead. Is this your first time posting on the internet or something?”

    Sure, I have been to internet menageries where anything goes but it is claimed (on the subject raised by JDC) that the evidence rules the roost. But insults detract from the evidence – that is the point, yes?

    IMO we should either have the menagerie or the debate but not both at once.

  317. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    Why is waltb still whingeing about the use of the word smarmy in connection with lawyers, where it is exactly as inappropriate as the use of the word orange in relation to marmalade, instead of answering dingo’s perfectly sensible questions?

  318. waltb said,

    @Spanner

    “looking at … what was published, and looking for any misrepresentation, inadequate representation, problems with the method they’ve used, inconsistencies in their data handling, and logical flaws in their interpretations – and retrospective ethics-board-style consideration of some of the choices he [Wakefield] made while carrying out that research”

    Well that would be a very fine thing, if only it was applied evenly to both sides!

    @badlyshavedmonkey

    You consider that it is reasonable to label lawyers as smarmy and then debate with them. Yet anyone who expresses doubts about vaccine safety is labelled “anti-vax”. Can you see the irony? Sorry if you can’t.

    Dingo’s questions are not ‘perfectly sensible’ because my criticism was, funnily enough, not that I could do the studies better myself, but rather about the way that they are spun as robust scientific evidence when clearly they don’t represent that.

  319. Ben Lee said,

    Walt – what would constitute ‘robust scientific evidence’ in your opinion. Obviously epidemiological studies aren’t good enough for you here. What would be?

    what do you mean by “the best evidence of safety”What is the best level of safety?

    Best evidence reflects the best available data in the field in question. In this case they are epidemiological in nature. The reasons for this have been explained to you.

    What type of study would you like to see in its place? How would these be done?

  320. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    waltb, you didn’t find my post funny? I thought it was rather good.

    I had not realised you are a lawyer. Both of my brothers are. They’d have laughed.

    Never mind.

    If you are a lawyer and wish to debate science then a certain facility with science is required. So, to return to the point at issue, if you presume to criticise the existing studies’ methodology then to do so competently would require that you have answers to dingo ‘s questions. Absent those answers, your criticism lacks any weight. And we would be left with a lawyer expressing an opinion on something in which he has no competence.

  321. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    I think it also bears ponying out that this discussion has descended, as so often they do with the opponents of science and medicine, into a tedious meta-discussion sbout the terms of the debate when things could be advanced quite well by the ‘anti’ side sticking to the point and making posts relevant to the topic. Instead we no have the usual log-jam of questions posed by the science team that have become backed up by wasteful debris strewn about by the ‘antis’. My experience is that the antis tend to disappear shortly after this stage is reached only to pop up again st another forum at another time to restart the process as if this had never happened.

    Hey, but maybe waltb is the man to prove me wrong. I’ve only been doing this for 10 or 11 years and there may be a first time.

  322. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    Too many typos in that one. Try this;

    I think it also bears pointing out that this discussion has descended, as so often they do with the opponents of science and medicine, into a tedious meta-discussion about the terms of the debate when things could be advanced quite well by the ‘anti’ side sticking to the point and making posts relevant to the topic. Instead we now have the usual log-jam of questions posed by the science team that have become backed up by wasteful debris strewn about by the ‘antis’. My experience is that the antis tend to disappear shortly after this stage is reached only to pop up again st another forum at another time to restart the process as if this had never happened.

    Hey, but maybe waltb is the man to prove me wrong. I’ve only been doing this for 10 or 11 years and there may be a first time.

  323. Ben Lee said,

    Cue a post where CHS/Waltb/autism parent et al scrolls through and finds anything that could be construed as an insult, highlighting so here.

    Alternatively they will ask more questions ignoring those that have been posed to them.

    See for example CHS, instead of answering JDCs question, referring him back to one of his own. Alternatively more accusations about one or all of us being involved in big Pharma will be bandied about.

  324. jdc325 said,

    @Waltb

    The first is an allegation for which the evidence is currently being debated. The second is a simple, personal insult. The first is not rude. The second is.

    “What do you think I should do about them?”

    Refute them, of course, if you are able.

    The allegation that I knowingly wrote something I knew to be incorrect requires (a) what I wrote to be incorrect (I don’t think it is) and (b) for me to have known it was incorrect and written it anyway (i.e., for CHS to be able to claim I knew it was incorrect they’d need to be psychic) – I believed it to be correct when I wrote it and there is absolutely no way CHS can justifiably claim otherwise.

    If you don’t think it is rude to falsely accuse someone of knowingly writing something they know to be incorrect then I think we have different ideas of what is and is not rude. Frankly, I’d have found it less offensive if CHS had called me a cock-faced twatweasel.

  325. jdc325 said,

    @Waltb

    BTW I also believe you wrote something “knowing full well it is not correct”. People often do this when arguing a case. You also wrote

    “the evidence shows there is no link”

    Perhaps you’d like to examine the relevant evidence which can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=mmr%20autism. It shows there is no link. This is the evidence I was referring to. I considered when I wrote that the evidence shows no link that I was correct and I still hold that view now. Please demonstrate that I knew my statement to be incorrect when I published it. To do so, you will have to show that you knew what I was thinking when I wrote the statement you quoted. Good luck with that.

  326. ChildHealthSafety said,

    ChrisP [June 28, 2012 at 4:29 am]

    seems to think that epidemiological studies and statistical studies are science. Sigh.

  327. ChildHealthSafety said,

    jdc325 [June 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm]

    So are you saying that because all of these government officials, government experts and government health organisations [who and which have considered the evidence and concluded vaccines cause autistic conditions] just have opinions but what you say is evidence establishes the contrary fact and is not opinion but fact?

    Is that your answer?

  328. ChildHealthSafety said,

    badlyshavedmonkey [June 28, 2012 at 3:19 pm]

    said “…… this discussion has descended, as so often they do with the opponents of science and medicine, into a tedious meta-discussion about the terms of the debate”.

    Oh, you mean like the Badscience afficionados posting here who do not understand that epidemiology is not science. They then claim something is a scientific fact based on an epidemiological study.

    Ha!! “Badscience”. Now I understand why that is what they call their forum.

  329. jdc325 said,

    @CHS

    jdc325 [June 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm]

    So are you saying that because all of these government officials, government experts and government health organisations [who and which have considered the evidence and concluded vaccines cause autistic conditions] just have opinions but what you say is evidence establishes the contrary fact and is not opinion but fact?

    Is that your answer?

    I’m saying that opinions (whoever holds them) are just that – opinions. They are not “fact” or “evidence”. Do you disagree?

    The “evidence” I refer to consists of: retrospective, observational studies; retrospective, observational studies; and prospective observational studies. You might not like this evidence, but you cannot pretend it is not evidence any more than you can pretend that opinions are evidence.

    You seem to have had a little trouble understanding my posts in this thread. I’ve now clarified my views and I suspect that even you must now understand what I meant.

  330. ChildHealthSafety said,

    jdc325 [June 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm]

    said “I’m saying that opinions (whoever holds them) are just that – opinions. They are not “fact” or “evidence”.”

    So at what point jdc325 can you say that 1) what you claim is a fact is merely an opinion something is a fact and not necessarily fact and 2) that what you claim is an opinion that something is a fact is a correct opinion.

    Or are you saying that regardless what evidence one has, what one claims is fact is always merely opinion?

    Your call.

  331. ChildHealthSafety said,

    jdc325 [June 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm]

    Taking your other point separately you say:

    “The “evidence” I refer to consists of: retrospective, observational studies; retrospective, observational studies; and prospective observational studies. You might not like this evidence, but you cannot pretend it is not evidence any more than you can pretend that opinions are evidence.”

    All evidence is information. The question is whether it is reliable and relevant in that it tends to support or undermine a disputed proposition.

    You say your “retrospective, observational studies; retrospective, observational studies; and prospective observational studies” prove your opinions are fact.

    Is that correct?

  332. jdc325 said,

    @CHS

    jdc325 [June 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm]

    said “I’m saying that opinions (whoever holds them) are just that – opinions. They are not “fact” or “evidence”.”

    So at what point jdc325 can you say that 1) what you claim is a fact is merely an opinion something is a fact and not necessarily fact and 2) that what you claim is an opinion that something is a fact is a correct opinion.

    Or are you saying that regardless what evidence one has, what one claims is fact is always merely opinion?

    Your call.

    My position that there is no link between MMR and autism is held on the basis of the evidence that shows there is no link. Your position that there is a link appears to be held on the basis of the opinions of individuals. This is the difference that I am highlighting – that one position in this debate (mine) is supported by evidence and that the other (yours) is not, it is supported only by the opinions you quote. The facts in this case can be found in the results sections of the papers published by researchers studying the question of whether MMR causes autism. I suggest you read them.

  333. jdc325 said,

    @CHS

    jdc325 [June 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm]

    Taking your other point separately you say:

    “The “evidence” I refer to consists of: retrospective, observational studies; retrospective, observational studies; and prospective observational studies. You might not like this evidence, but you cannot pretend it is not evidence any more than you can pretend that opinions are evidence.”

    All evidence is information. The question is whether it is reliable and relevant in that it tends to support or undermine a disputed proposition.

    Whether evidence is reliable depends on the nature of the evidence. Please feel free to present evidence in support of your position that is as strong as the evidence I have cited in favour of mine. You certainly have not done this so far. You have presented evidence that individuals believe there is a link but you have not presented evidence that there is a link. You seem not to understand the difference.

    You say your “retrospective, observational studies; retrospective, observational studies; and prospective observational studies” prove your opinions are fact.

    Is that correct?

    I’ve pointed you to the evidence – the research papers I have referred to. These papers contain certain facts. If you are interested in facts then I suggest you focus on the evidence referred to, or present your own facts (please note that I refer to facts, rather than opinions).

  334. ChildHealthSafety said,

    jdc325 [June 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm]

    said “My position that there is no link between MMR and autism is held on the basis of the evidence that shows there is no link.”

    The problem is jdc325 that those with greater expertise than you do not agree. That was pointed out here:

    http://jdc325.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/sue-reid-on-mmr-in-the-daily-mail/#comment-13576

    So you are saying in your opinion that evidence shows there is no link but those with greater expertise disagree.

    – two major US Health Departments with extensive medical and scientific expertise and resources

    – The Italian Ministry of Health

    – the independent expert appointed to advise the Italian Court

    – the other two experts in the case

    – the judge in a different Italian Court in a different contested case

    – the US Federal “Vaccine” Court in Hannah Poling case and Bailey Banks

  335. ChildHealthSafety said,

    So now that we have reached the position summarised in the above ie here:

    https://jdc325.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/sue-reid-on-mmr-in-the-daily-mail/#comment-13637

    jdc325 now needs to explain how he [on the basis he claims here] that he can accuse a professional journalist of not reporting responsibly when the report was a straight factual account of factual matters which took place in Italy.

    [It took a long time getting here but now we have it deserves an answer].

  336. jdc325 said,

    @CHS

    So now that we have reached the position summarised in the above ie here:

    https://jdc325.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/sue-reid-on-mmr-in-the-daily-mail/#comment-13637

    jdc325 now needs to explain how he [on the basis he claims here] that he can accuse a professional journalist of not reporting responsibly when the report was a straight factual account of factual matters which took place in Italy.

    [It took a long time getting here but now we have it deserves an answer].

    If the professional journalist has reported some facts (e.g. the fact that individuals hold the opinion that there is a link between MMR and autism) but omitted others that are more relevant to the central question (e.g. the fact that a number of researchers in different countries have published studies that show no link) then is it unreasonable to urge them to report responsibly by including the more relevant facts? I think not.

    If a newspaper reported the fact that an in vitro study showed that antioxidants had x effect and suggested that this demonstrated health benefits of antioxidants in humans, but omitted to mention the fact that in studies of humans no benefit was found (and that there was actually a higher risk of mortality) then I could justifiably argue that their reporting was irresponsible as it omitted the most relevant information.

    Do you accept that it is possible for someone to unintentionally mislead others by reporting only some information and omitting other information?

  337. jdc325 said,

    @CHS

    jdc325 [June 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm]

    said “My position that there is no link between MMR and autism is held on the basis of the evidence that shows there is no link.”

    The problem is jdc325 that those with greater expertise than you do not agree. That was pointed out here:

    http://jdc325.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/sue-reid-on-mmr-in-the-daily-mail/#comment-13576

    So you are saying in your opinion that evidence shows there is no link but those with greater expertise disagree.

    – two major US Health Departments with extensive medical and scientific expertise and resources

    – The Italian Ministry of Health

    – the independent expert appointed to advise the Italian Court

    – the other two experts in the case

    – the judge in a different Italian Court in a different contested case

    – the US Federal “Vaccine” Court in Hannah Poling case and Bailey Banks

    Please point to the position statements that demonstrate that two major US Health Departments consider that the evidence shows there is a link. Not individuals employed by the Health Departments, but statements published by the Health Departments.

    Please point to where the Italian Ministry of Health has stated that the evidence shows there is a link. Pointing to a failure on their part to challenge claims of a link will not suffice.

    Please tell me what makes the experts advising the Italian court experts. In what fields do these people have expertise?

    Please explain what makes judges experts on medical matters.

    If you want to play argument from authority, I think you will find that those with relevant expertise tend to agree that there is no link between MMR and autism. This is the medical consensus, the one originally referred to not by me but by Sue Reid. The one that is in agreement with the publicly available evidence that consists of carefully collected data presented by scientist with relevant expertise, peer-reviewed, and replicated by other scientists with relevant expertise.

  338. ChildHealthSafety said,

    jdc325 [June 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm]

    Said
    “If the professional journalist has reported some facts (e.g. the fact that individuals hold the opinion that there is a link between MMR and autism) but omitted others that are more relevant to the central question ….”

    This demonstrates a fundamental misconception about what the press do and how news is reported. The report was about the decision in the Italian Court. The Court decision is a finding of fact. It was not contested by the Italian Health Ministry. It was on the basis of expert evidence.

    So what you are saying is you do not like it when a professional journalist does a professional job reporting on a Court decision of a finding of fact you disagree with because you have a different opinion of the facts to everyone else involved in that Court decision.

    That provides no basis of any kind for your assertions the journalist was not responsible. It does however reveal a great deal about you and your deeply held views which are uncompromising despite the evidence that your views are not shared by experts who have considerable expertise in the matter.

    That to us does not appear in the least bit responsible on your part.

    You should apologise to the journalist concerned upon your knees.

  339. ChildHealthSafety said,

    jdc325 [June 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm]

    We are done here.

    Goodbye.

  340. jdc325 said,

    @CHS,

    jdc325 [June 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm]

    Said
    “If the professional journalist has reported some facts (e.g. the fact that individuals hold the opinion that there is a link between MMR and autism) but omitted others that are more relevant to the central question ….”

    This demonstrates a fundamental misconception about what the press do and how news is reported. The report was about the decision in the Italian Court. The Court decision is a finding of fact. It was not contested by the Italian Health Ministry. It was on the basis of expert evidence.

    So what you are saying is you do not like it when a professional journalist does a professional job reporting on a Court decision of a finding of fact you disagree with because you have a different opinion of the facts to everyone else involved in that Court decision.

    That provides no basis of any kind for your assertions the journalist was not responsible. It does however reveal a great deal about you and your deeply held views which are uncompromising despite the evidence that your views are not shared by experts who have considerable expertise in the matter.

    That to us does not appear in the least bit responsible on your part.

    You should apologise to the journalist concerned upon your knees.

    You seem to have the mistaken impression that I am unfamiliar with how the mainstream media works. You are wrong. I am familiar with the way they work and I disapprove of it. I think if you look back through the posts on this blog you will find that this is quite clear.

  341. dingo199 said,

    In a parallel universe, far far away, a not at all smarmy lawyer might have allegedly said:

    My proof is bigger than yours!
    I know it consists only of what a court in provincial Italy said, or the opinions of a few politicians, or pointed out the quite irrelevant fact that courts in the US have compensated vaccinated kids, but hey! Taking sides and twisting facts is what legal eagles do for a living!

    You see, what these courts say is just so much better than any “scientific” evidence, isn’t it? Those judges are right on the ball, and never, ever make mistakes (….well… except maybe the Special Masters in autism omnibus and other cases, those judges who pronounced on Geier and Wakefield, that Mitting cobber who explicitly said vaccines did not cause autism… ignore those please would you, and listen only to MY judges!!!).

    Please realise I have to argue my case like this, because I don’t actually have any scientific evidence of my own to front up to show MMR causes autism. I can just declare all your scientific evidence as invalid because I herebye declare it is not science, and pretend to myself I have won teh internet!
    So there!

  342. Chris said,

    waltb:

    “Smarmy lawyers” – 5 occurrences

    Did you count how many times various forms of these phrases came up:

    You are making a claim that “real” scientists have not done the proper studies. So tell us who those “real” scientists are, and how you would properly do the study, yet still make sure no child is injured.

    So answer the question that you have been asked multiple times, how should the study be designed to both satisfy you, and to make sure no children are harmed?

  343. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    CHS, you repeatedly assert that epidemiology is not a science, but you have not explained why. It certainly fits within my scheme of scientific knowledge. Obviously it is not the same as a controlled trial, but as various alt med loons are keen to point out, occasionally correctly, science does not begin and end with RCTs.

    Explain yourself, please.

  344. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    I said;

    we now have the usual log-jam of questions posed by the science team that have become backed up by wasteful debris strewn about by the ‘antis’. My experience is that the antis tend to disappear shortly after this stage is reached only to pop up again at another forum at another time to restart the process as if this had never happened.

    CHS said;

    We are done here.

    Goodbye.

    I win.

    I’d like to thank my family. All the other members of the cast. My agent, of course. I’d also like to thank Big Pharma for funding my contribution to this thread and the men in black helicopters for keeping us safe from too many independent thinkers.

    waltb, in case you missed what was going on there. That was satire. You seem to be the last man standing. How about you answer dingo’s questions;

    Tell us what quality of evidence would you accept? What type of study would knock your socks off?
    Fill us in on the proposed hypothesis to be explored, the design, the methodology, the sample size, the power and the type of statistical analysis you would like to see.

  345. Chris said,

    Badly Shaved Monkey:

    CHS, you repeatedly assert that epidemiology is not a science, but you have not explained why. It certainly fits within my scheme of scientific knowledge.

    I am very curious about that too. If epidemiology is not a science then we have toss out all of the things it has accomplished.

    Perhaps London should put the pump handles back on the wells, since CHS has declared null and void all of John Snow’s research on cholera. And, of course remove all notices of the connection to cancer from tobacco and asbestos because CHS has declared that Richard Moss was not doing real science.

    And yes, Waltb, CHS and Autism Parent need to tell us what is the proper study to do, and explain very carefully how it can be done to protect children in the placebo group from measles and mumps.

  346. spanner said,

    “Well that would be a very fine thing, if only it was applied evenly to both sides!”

    You’ve missed something, I think. The point of peer review is that the resultant body of literature consists of what actually exists and has been observed. If you have a group of people who disagree with what has been published, even if that passed pre-publication review without being pulled up, and they have relevant expertise, they can raise objections in the context of the academic journal, and, if their case is soundly based, and there are not methodological flaws in what they have done to come to their conclusions – as the principles underlying peer review should apply to all input – they can even cause a paper to be corrected post-publication, or withdrawn, by the author or journal.

    If you go to any site hosting journals, in any scientific discipline, and search for ‘comment and reply’ articles, you should be able to find at least a few you can access – and you’ll see that people do get pulled up on their mistakes. Reviewers – whether original referees or other workers in the field who got the article after original publication – can really rip in when they find a conclusion nonsensical, and when it happens as a comment-and-reply piece, that’s happening as publicly as the original article.

  347. spanner said,

    Sorry… That should be, “access without subscribing or having to pay”.

  348. ChrisP said,

    waltb, you didn’t answer the question I posed. You have claimed that studies on vaccines and autism have been underpowered. What is the size of the effect that you think might be there? Or perhaps I should phrase that as: How big do you think the influence of vaccines on autism is? 100% of cases, 50% of cases, 5% of cases?

    Then we can start talking about power of trials.

  349. waltb said,

    Ben Lee

    “what would constitute ‘robust scientific evidence’ in your opinion. Obviously epidemiological studies aren’t good enough for you here. What would be? …. The reasons for this have been explained to you.”

    If they are way short of being robust evidence then they should not be presented as robust evidence, period. The question of what I would accept is irrelevant. Said so already.

  350. waltb said,

    Badly Shaved Monkey

    “I had not realised you are a lawyer. Both of my brothers are. They’d have laughed.”

    Very revealing. BSM, you don’t need to be part of a group to defend it against an unfair slur. Perhaps this is where you are all going wrong in the debate!? Anyway, it’s a good example of your evidence threshold – zero when it suits you. No wonder you can enthuse over these old computer record studies.

    “I’d like to thank my family. All the other members of the cast. My agent, of course. I’d also like to thank Big Pharma for funding my contribution to this thread and the men in black helicopters for keeping us safe from too many independent thinkers.”

    LOL! Now that was funny, thanks.

    “if you presume to criticise the existing studies’ methodology then to do so competently would require that you have answers to dingo ‘s questions”

    Non-sequitur. Dingo’s questions did not relate to the point in question. Point in question being that as the studies fall far short of being robust evidence, this should be acknowledged by medics and their groupies. It should be obvious that Dingo’s questions represent straw men – as they attempt to deflect from the point by creating shortcomings in the messenger.

    Once again – if the existing evidence presented is, let’s call it for the sake of charity, way short of robust, it is irrelevant what evidence I would accept. Oddly enough, torching straw men seems to be a bit of a hobby for the laughably self-professed evidence-based scientists here.

    On that “wasteful debris” and the “tedious meta-discussion about the terms of the debate” – well you have some nerve trying to sum up the debate like that. BSM, you ought to have a look inside the menagerie you have helped create.

    Opponents (lawyers or not) are labeled smarmy. A discussion inevitably followed from that.

    Criticism of non-medical papers is not accepted unless published in medical journals. Unidentifiable people subjectively decide which people are of sufficient qualify to make them.

    Discussions inevitably followed from that.

    Irrelevant points are picked up by everyone as if it were somehow the Achilles heel of the opposition. Discussion inevitably followed from that – though mainly me telling you the same thing over and over again until you get the point.

    This may all be considered “debris” but it is due to manner of debate. With one or two exceptions, “All hands on the teapot!” might sum it up.

    You might have been doing this for 10 years badlyshavenmonkey – but as it seems you cannot recognize your own waste, you should stick to the comedy.

    Thanks for the exchange. Yes I’m still standing – why wouldn’t I be, but I’m pretty impervious to custard pies and tea being poured down my neck. You’ll need to try a different approach – engaging directly with the points would be a start. Cheers

  351. Ben Lee said,

    Walt that really isn’t an answer.

    The point is that in certain situations, such as this one, is this is the most robust evidence you can achieve. You literally cannot obtain any better data in this sort of situation. You cannot hold up RCT level data as the gold standard in this situation as it is a wholly inappropriate methodology and CANNOT be used. Do you accept that RCT type studies cannot be done here? If not why not?

    If you can think of a better way to demonstrate there is no link then we are all keen to hear it. The fact that you haven’t been able to up to now speaks for itself, and there is a reason for that.

    You are slamming an entire body of evidence based on the methodology used (presumably because you it doesn’t fit with what you would like) yet don’t know of an alternative.

    Do you accept the epidemiological data mentioned re cholera, tobacco etc by Chris. Or is that data also not robust and therefore should be dismissed.

  352. waltb said,

    JDC325
    “Please demonstrate that I knew my statement to be incorrect when I published it. To do so, you will have to show that you knew what I was thinking when I wrote the statement you quoted. Good luck with that.”

    You have already answered this for me JDC – in your own words:

    “I believed it to be correct when I wrote it”

    I.e, it was my opinion. I only voiced it because you thought the very suggestion equated with BSM’s insults.

    I would take you up on this:

    “e.g. the fact that a number of researchers in different countries have published studies that show no link”

    That a study “shows” there is no link can not reasonably be described as “a fact”. Yet you started the debate about ‘evidence’. The standards of evidence alternate so fast here I think I’m feeling a magnetic field :)

    Hence the “debris” our esteemed friend speaks about! It must be pieces of flying changing goalposts that shattered on the rock of the consistency of my arguments – hey I flatter myself, but it’s that sort of party…. thanks for the exchange.

  353. Ben Lee said,

    “Point in question being that as the studies fall far short of being robust evidence, this should be acknowledged by medics and their groupies”.

    You still do not seem to understand that in this situation, the epidemiological data gathered is the best available data. Thus it is the most robust data available and is presented as such. The point is that you have thus far failed to give us an example of more robust evidence, presumably because you cannot and repeatedly refuse to do so.

    Is it really just the phrasing that bothers you? Maybe you would like medics to say:”this is the best data we have, though it is not as robust as RCT data, even though in this situation we cannot ever do an RCT”.

  354. waltb said,

    ChrisP
    “What is the size of the effect that you think might be there?”

    OK It’s clear you know what you’re saying – but my issue is with what is presented to the public. Madsen told us (what we knew already) that the previous studies were all underpowered to detect an increase in autism of the size that might be expected. They mostly didn’t address the possibility of a susceptible subgroup. Neither did Madsen’s study either though, when you looked at it.

    The point I keep making is that if that’s the way that it is then it should be told that way – irrespective of ‘my’ opinion’ on what should be done.

    Ben Lee says this is not the answer – that’s because he doesn’t accept the question. What should the public be told about the evidence – my view is that it should be the truth. It’s controversial in medicine, I know. Ben and everyone else here clings to the indignant belief that as I am ‘slamming’ the existing evidence I must be the one to improve it. I think that’s objectively not a very impressive response.

  355. waltb said,

    Chris

    “CHS, you repeatedly assert that epidemiology is not a science, but you have not explained why. It certainly fits within my scheme of scientific knowledge.

    I am very curious about that too. If epidemiology is not a science then we have toss out all of the things it has accomplished.”

    It’s not that epidemiology is or is not a science but how far short the existing epidemiolgy (in the case of vaccine safety) falls in terms of ‘proving’ safety. It needn’t bear on other areas.

    For example, in what was the smoking controversy we are talking about excess odds ratios of like, three – whereas in MMR-autism debate it would be about 0.01or 0.1. Chalk and cheese surely!?

  356. waltb said,

    Spanner

    “You’ve missed something, I think.”

    I accept what you say there but I think it’s you who have missed the point. The scrutiny not applied evenly. Mountains were moved to discredit the Wakefield study whereas faux epidemiological studies critism is half-hearted. Where is Madsen’s fraud trial. Where is his Brian Deer? That was my point there.

    Cheers, I’m out for the weekend now. Got to get my Vitamin D (oh better not start that…)

  357. ChrisP said,

    Ben Lee, it is even worse than that. You would not even contemplate an RCT unless there was evidence the intervention would have an impact. In the case of vaccines that could only come from adverse reaction reports (where the vaccine would be simply withdrawn from sale) or from epidemiological studies. As neither the adverse reaction reports nor the epidemiological studies do not support a hypothesis that vaccines cause autism, there would be no reason to do an RCT. Even if one could overcome the other ethical objections to a vaccine RCT of the sort being tested, without a plausible hypothesis the ethics committee would turn the application down.

    One of the issues with Wakefield’s research was it was conducted without ethics approval.

    It is not even necessary to argue about the robustness of the methods. That is simply a red herring.

  358. Ben Lee said,

    I’m not suggesting you are the one to sort it out Walt. I ask those questions of you to try and get a feel for your understanding of science and evidence, which you seem happy to criticise without really knowing what it is you are saying.

    The public are told the truth in that the current best evidence shows no link. You say this isn’t robust, we ask what you would rather have. You have so far failed to answer that question. Give it a go. If there is no better method of obtained such data what do you think should be done?

  359. ChrisP said,

    waltb, whether the earlier studies were underpowered depends very much on the size of the effect expected. The earlier studies would have been quite adequate to find a large effect. As an aside, one of my favourite epidemiological stories is about the workers at an aniline dye factory last century where 19 out of 20 died from a very rare form of bladder cancer and the last was run over by a bus. So small epidemiological studies can identify risks if the size of the risk is big enough.

    What Masden was saying was the earlier studies would have been unable to identify a small effect, such as where MMR produced a fractional increase in autism prevalence. This is clearly not the sort of increase that the MMR produces autism band, like our erstwhile friends ChildHealthSafety, Isabella Thomas, et al. would be talking about.

  360. kaska said,

    I realise it isn’t the most important point being discussed, but I’m astounded that epdemiology (a branch of medical science) can be considered by some not to be science.

    Clearly no-one has told the epidemiologists, who continue to publish in Nature and Science and huge numbers of other scientific journals (nearly 1.5 million scientific articles in pubmed match a search for “epidemiology”).

    By what definitions of science and epidemiology does the latter not meaningfully overlap with the former?

  361. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    waltb

    It’s not that epidemiology is or is not a science

    Well, CHS asserts that it is not science. Please clarify, is epidemiology part of science?

    What Masden was saying was the earlier studies would have been unable to identify a small effect, such as where MMR produced a fractional increase in autism prevalence. This is clearly not the sort of increase that the MMR produces autism band, like our erstwhile friends ChildHealthSafety, Isabella Thomas, et al. would be talking about.

    So we return to dingo’s question and its relevance. I hope you can now see that it is not a non sequitur. This is not an issue that can be resolved by vague hand-waving arguments. Specify the size of effect you are claiming.

  362. Chris said,

    waltb:

    Point in question being that as the studies fall far short of being robust evidence, this should be acknowledged by medics and their groupies

    And your scientific research qualification to opine on how the more than a dozen epidemiological studies are short of robust evidence are….? And, this is where we all laugh when Wakefield’s retracted paper on twelve children is considered the holy grail of research by CHS and friends.

    So please tell us how those studies should be done, and still protect the children in the placebo group. Actually tell us without so much verbiage explaining why what has been done is not enough and how we are so wrong.

    It’s not that epidemiology is or is not a science but how far short the existing epidemiolgy (in the case of vaccine safety) falls in terms of ‘proving’ safety. It needn’t bear on other areas.

    I recognize the words as English, but the way they are arranged. This is does not make any sense.

    For example, in what was the smoking controversy we are talking about excess odds ratios of like, three – whereas in MMR-autism debate it would be about 0.01or 0.1. Chalk and cheese surely!?

    Seriously? You bring up a class case where epidemiology was used to show smoking causes cancer as an example to show that epidemiology does not apply to vaccine studies? And you dismiss it because the several studies do not give any real odds that MMR is associated with autism, because there was a real correlation between smoking and cancer? Are you for real?

    If there was any chance that vaccines cause autism, it would have shown up in the epidemiological data. Again, if you have evidence to the contrary, please present it. No more verbose excuses.

  363. Chris said,

    Mistyped a few things:

    “I recognize the words as English, but not the way they are arranged.”

    “You bring up a classic case where epidemiology was used..”

    I suggest, waltb, that you pick up a copy of The Emperor of All Maladies, it is essentially a history of cancer research and treatment. The epidemiology studies that Dr. Moss participated in are described in great detail. Then you might want want to also read The Ghost Map about Dr. Snow’s mapping of cholera in London. Then your pontifications will be a wee more intelligent.

  364. waltb said,

    To all at the tea party:

    ‘No link’ is what the public are told. They were underpowered to prove “no link”.

    “You say this isn’t robust, we ask what you would rather have.”

    If they are not robust then the first duty is to stop deceiving the public.

    “Specify the size of effect you are claiming”.

    I never claimed there was an effect. My interest is in the debate, and what passes for evidence. Interesting that y’all keep wrongly pigeon-holing me.

    @Chris

    “Seriously? You bring up a class case where epidemiology was used to show smoking causes cancer as an example to show that epidemiology does not apply to vaccine studies? And you dismiss it because the several studies do not give any real odds that MMR is associated with autism, because there was a real correlation between smoking and cancer? Are you for real?”

    No wonder you think I’m not making sense. You seem not to understand English. This was the point I was answering – yes your point, Chris:

    “If epidemiology is not a science then we have toss out all of the things it has accomplished.”

    I said “….It needn’t bear on other areas.”

    One such area being smoking – where the effect was far greater, so the epidemiology was eventually successful. (Oh and please remind me why if the epidemiological scientists missed this link for decades, why they can’t miss a much smaller one).

    You turn a simple and clear point to gibberish and try to blame it on me. After umpteen posts I’m still having to correct deliberate misunderstandings.

    Meant to answer this one too:

    “And your scientific research qualification to opine on how the more than a dozen epidemiological studies are short of robust evidence are….?”

    One of them which wasn’t robust said all the previous ones weren’t robust. I give reasonable criticism of some later ones too. I would have given more except you wanted to specify whose critiques I could quote.

    Apparently you need medical badges awarded by the Wizard before you can opine on some hopeful number crunching. It goes with the straw man I suppose.

    I’m warming to this menagerie though, I might return after the weekend.

  365. ChildHealthSafety said,

    WaltB,

    You should post as “The Ringmaster”.

    These “Badscience” guys still cannot figure out why epidemiology is not science.

    And then cannot understand why it is not necessary “If epidemiology is not a science then we have toss out all of the things it has accomplished.”

    But if they did understand then they would understand why if epidemiology can qualify as evidence then what they call “anecdotal” will also qualify.

    Clue: just because it ends in “… ology” doesn’t make it science. Maybe we should call it “anecdotalology”.

    WaltB, you look like you are posting here in the idle moments between moves in the games of chess you are playing elsewhere. Did you just beat one of our guys over at chess.com?

    Signing off but still enjoying the show.

  366. Autism parent said,

    @ChildHealthSafety & @waltb

    Loving your posts! You’re speaking for an awful lot of autism parents out there! I haven’t got time to join in this discussion I’m afraid, I have a disabled child to attend to. However, just wanted to pick up on ChrisP’s post:
    ‘You would not even contemplate an RCT unless there was evidence the intervention would have an impact. In the case of vaccines that could only come from adverse reaction reports (where the vaccine would be simply withdrawn from sale) or from epidemiological studies. As neither the adverse reaction reports nor the epidemiological studies do not support a hypothesis that vaccines cause autism, there would be no reason to do an RCT.’ (double negatives are ChrisP’s, not mine)

    There are many, many autism parents who have reported ‘adverse reactions’ to vaccines which have simply been dismissed as ‘coincidence’, and don’t show up in any medical records. A typical scenario; the parent goes to their GP to report a huge post-vaccination regression, the GP’s response – s/he’ll settle down soon, it’s just temporary, and when it isn’t temporary – it would have happened anyway, nothing to do with the vaccines. This happens time and again.

    I do wonder how these vaccines are ever introduced in the first place, if the only ‘reliable’ evidence of their safety is epidemiological studies, which aren’t available anyway at the outset?

  367. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    waltb said;

    1. ‘No link’ is what the public are told. They were underpowered to prove “no link”.

    waltb said;

    2. I never claimed there was an effect.

    waltb said;

    3. One such area being smoking – where the effect was far greater, so the epidemiology was eventually successful.

    waltb, now you are descending into incoherence even within a single post. You’ve got your self so confused I don’t think even you know what point you are trying to make.

    What’s the size of the effect, waltb? Apparently it’s smaller than the effect of smoking, but give us a number.

  368. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    CHS,

    I am forced simply to repeat myself. In bold this time.

    CHS, you repeatedly assert that epidemiology is not a science, but you have not explained why. It certainly fits within my scheme of scientific knowledge. Obviously it is not the same as a controlled trial, but as various alt med loons are keen to point out, occasionally correctly, science does not begin and end with RCTs.

    Explain yourself, please.

    P.S. While Wikipedia is not the final word on any topic, the consensus editors there do not seem to have your problem.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemiology

    This page has a neat quote;

    http://www.soph.uab.edu/epi/academics/studenthandbook/what

    “Epidemiology is considered a basic science of public health. ”

    http://dictionary.die.net/epidemiology

    Epidemiology \Ep`i*de`mi*ol”o*gy\, n. [Epidemy + -logy.] (Med.)
    That branch of science which treats of epidemics.

    Source: Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

    Are we done with this now?

    Quite why it is so important to you to hammer away at this misconceived point of semantics is just weird. 367 posts and we’re arguing about dictionary definitions of perfectly straightforward words. Yeesh!

    Arguing with you and waltb is like arguing with a pair of stubborn 5-yr olds who insist on repeating “didn’t” for every “did” and thinking themselves hilarious for doing so.

  369. Chris said,

    waltb, let us make is simple for you since you have become very confused: just describe to us the procedure for how a study of the MMR vaccine would satisfy you, but still make sure no children come down with measles, mumps or rubella (even though there is a measles outbreak in Europe).

    As an example you can read on a proposed design of a study written by a professor at medical school: “Let’s put on a Study!”.

    I hope you also go to your community library and pick up the two books I suggested. The one on the history of cancer treatment and research is very well written, and would be a very good choice for summer reading. But then again, I just picked The Mathematical Universe by William Dunham from my local library, so my tastes are a bit odd.

  370. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    CHS

    I shall pick up another of your points because it shows more of your sloppy thinking.

    “But if they did understand then they would understand why if epidemiology can qualify as evidence then what they call “anecdotal” will also qualify.”

    Anecdotes are evidence. Who said otherwise? They are just very weak evidence, which makes them, for most practical purposes, useless not because they cannot contain instances of true causation but because any such evidence is so buried in noise as to make action taken on their basis highly likely to be misdirected. Their problem is that they are confounded by so many factors beyond any putative main effect that they are rightly dismissed. Anecdotes are, by their nature, unsystematic. Epidemiology is systematic and allows tentative causal inferences to be made, but these are only tentative.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradford-Hill_criteria

    None of this is difficult stuff. It is a little worrying that you appear to have written endless screeds on your blog and regard yourself as an opinion-leader with such a poor grasp of some very basic concepts.

    I am unclear. Are you a person or a team?

  371. Chris said,

    Well, to be fair, there is the saying that “the plural of anecdote is not data.”

    The VAERS data in the USA are a collection of anecdotes, so as raw data it is useless. Though it can pick up trends (like the issues with the RotaShield vaccine).

    Also, most of the epidemiological studies on MMR did not use individual parent anecdotes, they often used data that were recorded in medical record databases. Perhaps there is a difference between raw individual anecdote versus data.

  372. ChrisP said,

    Autism parent, only a very small minority of parents of autistic children blame the MMR vaccine as a cause of autism. When an investigation into adverse events is conducted, the doctor’s records will be closely examined as objective evidence. This is because people are very good at fooling themselves about correlations, so subjective evidence from the parents is held at a lower standard. Such investigations have found no cause for concern with respect to autism. An early MMR vaccine in the UK was removed because associated incidents of aseptic meningitis. These were later identified as most likely arising from the Urabe mumps strain used in the vaccine.

    One of the things to come to light in the GMC hearings for Andrew Wakefield is that the medical records of children in the study. These showed possible autistic symptoms in at least 3 of the children in the study before the MMR vaccine was administered. For none of the children was there good documented evidence of autistic symptoms beginning within days of the MMR vaccination as Wakefield claimed.

  373. dingo199 said,

    I’m afraid that most lawyers, smarmy or not, will insist anecdotes are evidence because they think purely in the context of court testimony.
    Therein lies the difference between valid scientific evidence and legislated court-derived evidence. Unfortunately evidence from the courts is a poor empirical determinant.

    PS Good to see you back posting again, mate!
    I knew you were lying in your previous post. Perhaps you should stick to phrases like hasta la vista, or au revoir, if you wish to convey accurate statements about your intent.

  374. ChrisP said,

    waltb, let me get this right. You are claiming the epidemiology studies are under-powered even when you have no idea of what the size of the effect should be?

    I admit it is a novel way of dismissing evidence you don’t like. But I think it shows you up for what you are.

  375. spanner said,

    “I accept what you say there but I think it’s you who have missed the point. The scrutiny not applied evenly. Mountains were moved to discredit the Wakefield study whereas faux epidemiological studies critism is half-hearted.”

    This implies lack of resources, lack of motivation, or lack of evidence on the part of those supporting the Wakefield study.

    The first possibility is not really supported, given the number of autism charities in the US and UK, already highlighted, that maintain that there is a link, and express willingness to fund investigation. And, in the case of Andrew Wakefield, to help fund litigation too.

    The second possibility seems unlikely, as there are plenty of indignant parents, using graphic and/or dehumanising language in relation to their perceived vaccine-damaged children, posting on sites like Age of Autism (?) and various Facebook groups. They have plenty of reason to want further investigation, and any researcher could potentially be motivated by either altruism (sympathy) or self-aggrandisement (successfully replicating Andrew Wakefield’s work would guarantee them a reputation). Lack of motivation to study the area generally is not lacking, as there are more new studies… leaving, still, the possibility that people who support the Wakefield study are more inclined to shout than to act. I think that taking that as a given would probably qualify as a back-handed ad hominem attack. So the second possibility is still on the table.

    For the third possibility, I think it may be the case, simply for economic reasons. Journals compete with one another – academic publishing is still incredibly lucrative for the publishing companies, while their marginal costs of production are lower in an age of Web-based journals – particularly as they do not pay for – and sometimes charge authors to make accessible – their content.

    If the evidence is sound and the editorial board of one publication doesn’t want to put it up, with or without a fee, another will – most especially if it generates controversy and citations – even of people citing simply to shred it – because the increase in citations raises the impact factor for the journal, which in turn raises the lower end of the range of prices they can charge for institutional subscriptions. This seems to be the biggest slice of their market. Each and every piece that passes through is subjected to scrutiny, because sinking to the level of a junk/advert journal is a quick way to drop demand and subscription revenues. The stage at which refutation happens, if at all, is in part a function of the initial reviewer’s/reviewers’ abilities.
    _

    You’re kind of kicking a lot at the idea that researchers can’t withdraw an intervention if that is held to pose an unreasonable risk, and you also seem quite stuck on the relevance of statistics. Epidemiological studies are the best that we have at this point, because of the ethical concerns over anything more tightly controlled, and as other commenters have pointed out, they have been enough to identify problems, and explore the causes thereof, in other aspects of medicine. We’re potentially back to asbestos here, but that’s already been and gone.

    As I said before, if you can design a better study under the same contraints, it makes sense that you should, especially as your apparent interest in the wellbeing of people you perceive as vaccine-injured indicates you’d like as few to be so as possible. If you can’t point out a way to make it better under these same contraints, then it is still the best evidence we currently have. If you believe there is a systemic issue, do you still accept other medical interventions developed over the 20th century, whence most studies of this type originate? If you believe that the constraints you’d have to operate under are unreasonable, do you still want to have a common construction of healthcare where you, for example, give some sort of consent before someone is allowed to give you a new medication, or engage in surgery?

  376. spanner said,

    … Leaving aside, in the latter case, those situations where the need for immediate action to save an unconscious patient, for example, after a major road traffic accident, mean that consent of the patient cannot be sought (beyond a range of widely recognised indicators), and that of the next of kin may not be sought within a meaningful timeframe.

  377. GS said,

    I wonder if the rabid anti-vaxxers who claim that epidemiology is not science are aware of the nature of Wakefield’s Lancet study. It was epidemiological wasn’t it? A case series in fact. The least reliable of the various types of epidemiological study. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_series & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemiology#Types_of_studies

    If you’re going to dismiss epidemiology as “not science” then you must dismiss Wakefield’s study as “not science”; if Wakefield wasn’t doing science and hasn’t proved anything then what makes these people think there might be a link between vaccines and autism? Anecdotes? They’re the least reliable form of evidence there is.

  378. GS said,

    “Anecdotal evidence is considered dubious support of a claim; it is accepted only in lieu of more solid evidence.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence

    The epidemiological studies that have been dismissed by the anti-vaxxers are more solid than both anecdotal evidence and the Wakefield case series.

    Anecdotal evidence and case series studies can give a hint that there might be a question to answer. The type of studies that are conducted to answer such questions include those studies published on MMR and autism.

  379. GS said,

    When the anecdotal evidence and case series were reported on anti-vaxxers demanded answers. When they got answers they didn’t like they demanded other answers. Despite an RCT being unethical in this case anti-vaxxers demand one is performed. If it didn’t come up with an answer they liked then they’d complain about that RCT and demand more were conducted! Whatever research is done on MMR and autism will never satisfy anti-vaxxers because they are convinced of a link despite evidence and not because of it. They are rabid frothing and deluded believers. They are religious in their anti-vaccine fervour.

    This isn’t a group of concerned citizens it’s a mad cult.

  380. spanner said,

    @GS

    I’d think the logical approach, from that perspective, would be to continue research *where the prior research indicates answers on causation might possibly be found*, and come back to the campaigners later, and then deal appropriately with any of their behaviour which still seems to reject reason. Especially if it indicates that their children may be subject to neglect, or physical or emotional abuse (I just had a look at an MMS webpage; holy hell).

    Tracing back prior work, back-referencing contemporary lit, and exploring the depth of someone’s knowledge, if they’re talking about something I actually have studied, can be helpful if they’re genuinely looking for information, but often when they aren’t it comes back to a point where they refuse to accept the findings of a specific earlier piece of work, or take issue with it being accepted over time, and say that it represents collusion, delusion or propaganda. This point in discussion is often interesting, but unhelpful – as it means that we are talking in two different languages, and only really hints at where their meanings diverge – and it can take a lot of goodwill on both sides to even get them to engage to the extent that there can be a “yes, if you accept that the conclusion of paper 1 is correct, then the methods used for paper 2 would make sense, but I don’t believe paper 1,” type exchange.

  381. Autism parent said,

    @spanner

    I find your ‘logical approach’ sinister and creepy:

    ‘I’d think the logical approach . . . would be to . . . come back to the campaigners later, and then deal appropriately with any of their behaviour which still seems to reject reason.’

    What, I wonder, would you deem an ‘appropriate’ way of dealing with people who ‘reject reason’?

  382. spanner said,

    “What, I wonder, would you deem an ‘appropriate’ way of dealing with people who ‘reject reason’?”

    In this context, ‘rejection’ would be reflected in refusing to accept the cause, phrased in much the same terms as more extreme campaigners do now; not, “we do not know”, but “we know, anyone who disagrees doesn’t know, and the people who are actually investigating are hiding something”. Besides which, continued use of unproven and high-risk forms of ‘treatment’ for the condition.

    Frankly, when I wrote that comment, I was thinking about people who are behaving in a way likely to cause their child harm (apropos of the MMS comment), in the apparent belief that this is better for them than accepting support from mainstream medical care, as an apparent result of a belief that the aforementioned researchers are deliberately deceiving.

    With all due respect, if you are so far against the evidence – including that pertaining to other areas of medicine – as to think you’re okay to feed a child a substance you shouldn’t even be handling without gloves, you probably shouldn’t have care of a child with a condition you believe can be thus treated. My grandfather died from drinking a concoction of similar composition and concentration; I reserve the right to be scared shitless of any people who are advocating feeding, injecting or giving enemas of it to children – especially those with a condition which may prevent them from expressing what is being done to them.

    Therefore, I’d deem it appropriate, in this hypothetical situation (where a cause has been found, but dangerous and ineffective treatments are still selected by parents over other forms of care) but not necessarily any other, for someone who has behaved in such a way to be subject to criminal charges, prosecution and the sentence specified by the court, including, as necessary, loss of care or custody, where physical or psychological harm is found to have been caused to a child through such conduct. No more, and no less. Abuse is abuse.

  383. Autism parent said,

    @spanner

    I am worried that the following could be open to misinterpretation (assuming no defamatory intent):

    ‘With all due respect, if you are so far against the evidence – including that pertaining to other areas of medicine – as to think you’re okay to feed a child a substance you shouldn’t even be handling without gloves, you probably shouldn’t have care of a child with a condition you believe can be thus treated.’

    I’m afraid that the use of the pronoun ‘you’ and the phrase ‘with all due respect’ could imply that you are referring to me personally. Please could you confirm (if this is indeed the case) that you are not suggesting that I feed my child harmful substances and should not have care of him.

  384. spanner said,

    @Autism parent

    While the phrase “with all due respect” was intended to apply to you specifically – partly in acknowledgement that I was about to go a little bit over-emotional on a computer keyboard, and therefore potentially use language which you may be unhappy about – that usage of ‘you’ was intended in the general, rather than specific, sense. As you may understand, the topic does cause me to become quite upset.

    If you are not engaging in such activity, then such criticism does not apply to you personally – it would clearly make no sense. I apologise unreservedly for the unfortunate expression of the sentiment, but not for the sentiment itself.

  385. Autism parent said,

    @spanner

    Apology accepted.

    I understand you might be upset if you believe that children are being harmed. Do you have any evidence of injury caused to children by this treatment? I don’t know much about it, but if it is as harmful as you say, then there must be cases of injury which have come to light?

    I am also concerned that children with autism are suffering through neglect of physical problems which are wrongly considered to be of mental origin. Consequently, very painful conditions such as acid reflux and chronic constipation/impaction are overlooked. Children with autism sometimes express pain through self-harming or aggression, and if the underlying physical problem is not identified, strong anti-psychotic medication, with all the attendant side effects, may be prescribed. This was the subject of a recent Channel 4 news report:

    http://www.channel4.com/news/numbers-of-children-on-antipsychotic-drugs-doubles

    The young boy’s acid reflux was eventually identified, but it begs the question, how many more children with autism are in pain which they are unable to verbalise, and are being given powerful and totally inappropriate drugs which can only compound their difficulties. Sadly, this case may well be the tip of an iceberg of unnecessary and misunderstood suffering.

  386. Chris said,

    Autism Parent, there is more information on the “treatment” spanner was referring to here. There is a reason why the proponent lives in and practices in Mexico.

  387. spanner said,

    @Autism parent
    There are several documented cases like http://www.dailypost.vu/content/prosecutor-decides-no-charges-can-be-laid-case-death-linked-mms, besides the aforementioned relative, whose accident occurred before the compound was marketed in such a way. My own experiences with using lower concentrations of chloride and chlorite compounds in a wet lab indicates that the ‘treatment’ would, externally, sting like f-k. I can’t even imagine how it must feel when taken internally.

    The cases you describe highlight the importance of attempts to improve reliability of diagnosis, and would also support the argument for better dissemination of information among GPs and paediatricians about similar problems which can occur as a result of the condition itself, or as a result of comorbid bowel and gut problems. It’s certainly an area where campaigning and trying to raise awareness would have a clear beneficial effect.

  388. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    So, that’s it then? Anti-vaxers ignore the questions they have left dangling, descend into tedious semantic bickering and then disappear.

    Plus ca change.

  389. dingo199 said,

    Just noted this further piece of hookum from the not at all smarmy antivaccination lawyer:

    ”And the first known cause of autism is rubella virus and that cause has been known since the 1960s. So live viruses are a known cause of autism and MMR has not just one but three of them.”

    This contains misinterpretations and fallacious reasoning.

    Firstly, rubella causes autism because if pregnant female adults catch the disease, it affects the developing fetus in the womb in the first trimester causing complex and significant damage, one part of which is neurological damage, so the child may exhibit autistic like behaviour. There is no evidence rubella infection in an infant or a child will cause autism. None at all. The MMR vaccine, which contains attenuated viruses, does not cause problems either.

    And just because one virus might do something, that doesn’t mean other viruses can do it too. I can imagine a not at all smarmy lawyer displaying his very sound logical reasoning in court:

    “Your Honour, the Pope was shot by a Turk, so we know people from Asia can try to kill Catholics. I therefore contend that the accused are guilty of this assault on my Jewish client, because they are Asian. I rest my case.”

    I think that these antivaccine legal guys neatly demonstrate the dangers of letting idiots stray into fields of expertise they have zero knowledge about.

  390. Silencing Critics: Legal Chill « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    [...] Rainbow Foods. Oh, and Sue Reid of the Daily Mail used the ‘l’ word in an email to me: link. Rate this:Share this:StumbleUponDiggRedditEmailFacebookTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  391. Dr Richard Halvorsen, Babyjabs, and Single Vaccines: Misleading Advertising, Exaggeration, Harm & Offence « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    [...] right. Like the Daily Mail’s Sue Reid, Babyjabs want you to think that the MMR and autism issue is all about authority rather than [...]

  392. Jim Hodgson said,

    IT’S great to see this correspondence published, what I find incomprehensibly strange is that Sue’s extremely paranoid views of big pharma companies seem to imply that the process of scientific publication is dictated by them. The studies which disprove the link between mmr and autism are subject to extensive, independent peer review! THe ruling in the ItalIan court is nothing but idiotic

  393. Vaksinemotstandens kyniske ansikt | TJ - Land said,

    [...] Det verste er når media faktisk forsøker å fremstile at de er en kontrovers rundt MMR vaksinen når det ikke er det. Forfatteren av en artikkel i Dailymail truet med injuriesøksmål når hun ble konfrontert med sin sterke vaksinekriktiske holding av en blogger. [...]

  394. frankiedy said,

    Wow, there’s a lot of thick parents on here looking for someone to blame…

  395. spiniker said,

    ^medical consensus on MMR and autism is supported by robust evidence…”

    Problem is that the ‘robust evidence’ is far from that, most of the denials of autism and MMR are funded by those who have the most to lose from admitting their role.

    Medical consensus told us there have been 3 flu pandemics when there certainly have not in modern times, why the fxxx should their opinion suddenly be all truthful?

    Trust me I am not a doctor should be the mantra

  396. spiniker said,

    “T’S great to see this correspondence published, what I find incomprehensibly strange is that Sue’s extremely paranoid views of big pharma companies seem to imply that the process of scientific publication is dictated by them. The studies which disprove the link between mmr and autism are subject to extensive, independent peer review!” Jim Hogwash

    It is totally sad that there are still people claiming to be science based who reject or go straight for the ‘debunk’ button with anything that points out vaccination is failing. Do you really think that medical peer review is unbiased!. You can’t read very much, both the ex editor of the BMJ and the NEJM have gone on record as saying that ‘you cannot believe anything in medical peer review due to funding bias”

    So that leaves the real world, which EBM disallows as evidence for some bizarre reason. Most of those who choose not to vaccinate have the healthiest kids, if I compare my kids to those who are vaccinated they stand out on many levels. My tax is paying for all those medicated kids with their atopy and ADDH etc. whilst assholes like you think you are on moral highground.

    I hope the reporter sues your ass off for being an arrogant shit

  397. spiniker said,

    “Firstly, rubella causes autism because if pregnant female adults catch the disease, it affects the developing fetus in the womb in the first trimester causing complex and significant damage” dogshit

    the stats for this are not a stat, even using HPA factors. This mythology is all they have to scare people into vaccine whoo.

    So if rubella was such an issue how come every obstetrician or gynae bod doesn’t have to have an up to date vaccine requirement?

    So if this stupid statement above by dogshit was true how come autism wasn’t rife 100 years ago when there was no rubella vaccine woo? The answer for vaccine believers is because………

  398. Chris Preston said,

    spiniker, what a strange series of posts.

    Shall we start with the various claims? The robust evidence that vaccines do not cause autism is indeed robust. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673699012398 found no causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X01000974 is a second study finding the same. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673604170207 is a case controlled study coming to the same conclusion. http://journals.lww.com/pidj/Abstract/2010/05000/Lack_of_Association_Between_Measles_Mumps_Rubella.3.aspx is a second case control study with the same conclusion. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X12005828 is yet another case control study: same conclusion. Withdrawal of MMR in Japan did not lead to a decrease in the incidence of autism http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01425.x/full. And while we are on debunking links to vaccines: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/4/656.short shows no link with thimerosal and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022347613001443 shows no links with number or timing of vaccinations.

    Flu pandemics: there were four in the last century http://www.flu.gov/pandemic/history#. A pandemic is simply a global disease outbreak.

    So the ex-editors of the BMJ and NEJM have gone on record as saying that “you cannot believe anything in medical peer review due to funding bias”? Strangely I can’t find such a quote from any former editor of the BMJ or NEJM. The only place I can find this quote is in comments on blog posts. I shall leave that there.

    Rubella can indeed cause autism spectrum disorders http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/11/340.

    I suspect your critical thinking facilities need some attention.

  399. spiniker said,

    Sorry but the Lancet is not robust evidence of anything

  400. spiniker said,

    It is a shame that people who claim some kind of credible medical high ground can only quote broken procedure to make a point. I’d hate to ask you to make a cup of coffee.

  401. spiniker said,

    A global media outbreak is not a global disease outbreak, it’s science fantasy, pity you got taken along with it. Did you queue up for a jab then?

  402. Chris Preston said,

    spiniker, so you are not interested in having a discussion about the available evidence on the topic then?

  403. Chris said,

    Spiniker, an MMR vaccine with the Jeryl Lynn mumps component was introduced in the USA in 1971. It was the preferred vaccine for their 1978 Measles Elimination Program. Please provide the evidence dated before 1990 that there was a marked increase in autism in the USA from that MMR in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Since the USA is a much larger country than the UK, and the MMR was in use for almost two decades before being introduced in the UK, if it was associated with autism it would have been noticed. Right? Providing us that evidence dated before 1990 would give credence that Wakefield had something to base his hypothesis on other than the wad of UK taxpayer funded Legal Aide cash from Richard Barr.

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