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Antivaccine nonsense Autism Medicine Quackery Science Skepticism/critical thinking

I guess it’s not just Andrew Wakefield who doesn’t do controls when running PCR

Remember a couple of months ago, when I discussed testimony at the Autism Omnibus trial that showed how Andrew Wakefield had failed to do the controls when running PCR that would have revealed that the results that he interpreted as the presence of the measles virus from a vaccine strain in the guts of autistic children was nothing more than a bunch of false positives due to widespread contamination of the laboratory with plasmid containing measles sequences?

It turns out that it’s not just autism pseudoscientists who forget to do the right controls when running PCR. Mike the Mad Biologist describes an example of a very similar sloppiness of experimental technique in the microbiology world that also lead to what is almost certainly a false positive result.

I just can’t understand how such obvious, first year graduate student mistakes manage to get published in the peer-reviewed literature. It doesn’t happen that often, but it does happen at a rate that is high enough to be distressing. In the case of Andrew Wakefield, the results of his sloppy science were catastrophic, namely an antivaccination scare about the MMR that nine years later still hasn’t fully run its course.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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