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Andrew Wakefield dives into even more disrepute

It has now been nearly two months since Andrew Wakefield was forced to resign from Thoughtful House in the wake of his being found guilty of research misconduct by the British General Medical Council (GMC), the withdrawal of Wakefield’s infamous 1998 Lancet paper, and the withdrawal of Wakefield’s last grab at scientific credibility, his infamous hepatitis B “monkey study.” After a period of silence, over the last week, Wakefield has started to pop up in the public eye again, most recently last week in an interview for an independent filmmaker that is getting wide play in the anti-vaccine underground but not much anywhere else. Unfortunately, without the seeming respectability of Thoughtful House to buoy him, I had predicted that Andrew Wakefield would be destined for even more disrepute. It turns out that I was quite correct.

Andrew Wakefield has been interviewed by Dr. Mercola, who has posted the interview on his website in an article entitled Why Medical Authorities Went to Such Extremes to Silence Dr. Andrew Wakefield. I wonder if Wakefield knows that being featured on Joe Mercola’s website is a mere step above being featured on the conspiracy website Whale.to, right next to the New World Order conspiracy theories, UFO stories, Ley lines, Chemtrails, and HIV/AIDS denialism. Oh wait, he’s already there. But, to be fair, he didn’t actually sit down with John Scudamore to do an interview, as he did with Mercola. Here is the first part of the interview:


A transcript of the interview can be found here, in case, like me, you can’t stand to watch Wakefield’s unctuous “poor, poor, pitiful me” whining and Joe Mercola’s chipper conspiracy mongering for the full hour-plus time to which the combined running time of all ten parts of the interview total. Because the interview is long and consists of a lot of the usual misinformation that Wakefield has been peddling for twelve years now, I’ll make like a CAM practitioner and cherry pick bits of the interview that interest me to comment on. For instance, Mercola starts out with lips planted firmly on Wakefield’s posterior:

Today, I‟m here with Dr. Andrew Wakefield and we‟re just delighted and privileged to have him. We‟re going to talk about some very exciting topics primarily related to the vaccines. There has been a progressive increase in the use of vaccines over the last 20 or 30 years and there is more on the way and the big issue of course is, first of all, do they work and then secondly and more importantly is, how safe are they? And one of the most prominent researchers in answering that question with respect to the safety and the adverse effects that could be caused would be Dr. Wakefield. We‟re going to discuss some of the studies he has done. He‟s really one of the pioneer and probably the most prominent researcher in this area that‟s why we‟re so excited to have him. This is literally a multi-billion dollar process of these vaccines and largely because of the patented drugs being decreased; the big focus of the drug companies is to be increasing these use of the vaccines. So this is really a central part of their role and they are mounting massive efforts at discrediting anyone especially a prominent researcher who is attempting to counter the benefits, the supposed benefits of vaccines.

In the accompanying commentary, Mercola opines:

One of the primary reasons for this interview was to discuss Dr. Wakefield’s recent media exposure, and allow him the opportunity to finally set the public record straight.

As you probably know, the scientific peer-review process is designed to ferret out the truth. But in some cases, such as the case of Dr. Wakefield, this process can become perverted by conflicts of interest.

There are tens, if not hundreds of billions of dollars involved in the vaccine industry, and as a consequence there’s major pressure to suppress negative findings, such as the findings Dr. Wakefield uncovered.

In the last few months, he has been severely criticized in the media. Like every story there are always two sides and up until now he has not shared his due to advice he had received from his attorneys. That advice has now changed, and I wanted to provide him with the opportunity to tell his side of the story. In this interview, Dr. Wakefield opens up publicly for the first time.

Well, not exactly the first time. Mercola’s late by about a week.

Be that as it may, right from the beginning, it’s clear that the form of the interview will be to paint Andrew Wakefield as the Brave Maverick Doctor, a veritable Galileo of anti-vaccine pseudoscience, being suppressed/repressed by the medical establishment. Mercola even wonders if there’s a Nobel Prize down the road. Even if he was joking, which he appeared to be only partially, I laughed out loud when I heard that line, because I strongly suspect that Mercola really believes that Wakefield is worthy of the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Not long after that, Wakefield goes on and on about how British authorities supposedly tried to shut him down before he ever published his 1998 Lancet paper, painting himself as the poor naif, who had no idea what he was getting into and was shocked that the British Department of Health might have been alarmed at his poor quality research, and the GMC’s ruling 13 years later confirms that the Department of Health was more than justified to be alarmed, even though it did not know at the time that Wakefield’s work was trial lawyer-funded to the tune of £435,643 in fees plus £3,910 in expenses or that his research involved subjecting autistic children to invasive medical procedures without good medical indications.

Self-serving blather by Andrew Wakefield and fawning drooling by Joe Mercola aside, though, what I really wanted to find out from this interview was a hint at what Wakefield planned on doing next. I once joked that Wakefield’s next position would be one of three things, either medical director or chief “scientist” of Generation Rescue, medical director or chief “scientist” at SafeMinds, or the medical director at a quack clinic in Ecuador, Costa Rica, or Tijuana (although I would point out that I don’t limit Wakefield’s options to those locales). First off, apparently he’s written a book, although its apparently imminent release date tells me (1) that he’s been working on it a while and (2) that it’s probably going to be self-published or published through a vanity press:

I‟ve written a book at the GMC I was accused of callous disregard for children suffering which rather extraordinary even to me having experienced what I‟ve experienced to be accused of callous disregard for children is a stretch. So the book is called Callous Disregard. There is just tinge of irony in that. And it‟s really about the circumstances that surrounded The Lancet paper and everything that flowed from it but also the whistle blower in the background and that behind the scenes action that I wasn‟t aware of at the time but was forced into the open by the disclosures at the General Medical Council. So it‟s a story that hasn‟t been told that needs to be told. The second part of it which I‟m writing at the moment will focus largely on the American experience and my involvement with Congressional testimony and that kind of thing and all the behind the scenes jiggery pokery that went on there. So that book will be coming out hopefully in time for Autism One here in Chicago in late May.

See what I mean? If he’s still writing it and expects it to be released at the annual anti-vaccine quackfest that’s coming up in six weeks, it’ll have to be vanity press. Maybe Generation Rescue is going to publish it. Of course, one can’t help but point out yet again that, if, as he claims, Wakefield has so much evidence that exonerates him of the charges recently found proved by the GMC, why didn’t he present it to the GMC? It’s not as though he hasn’t had two and a half years to present his case. Yet, here he’s been, both here and elswhere, claiming that he was done wrong and that he can “prove, with extensive documentary evidence, that this conclusion is false,” referring to the GMC’s conclusion that he and his collaborators had conducted research on autistic children without proper ethical approval. Wouldn’t the time to have presented that evidence have been during the GMC hearings?

But what are Wakefield’s future plans, aside from being a major speaker at the yearly autism and Generation Rescue’s anti-vaccine quackfest known as Autism One in Chicago? He hints at them near the end of his interview:

I’ve just been offered a new position which allows me to integrate the research efforts of a variety of autism organizations around the world and to focus on those issues that the Interagency Coordinating Committee (IACC) with all its money and all its power seems to loathe to do and that is to look directly at environmental causes included within that of course is vaccines. So, the IACC seems to be moving around that issue but the elephant in the room is clearly the vaccine. I don‟t want to look at it now. My concern is to rue it in or rue it out. If they‟re fine they‟re fine, if they‟re not, they‟re not. We need to know. The public need to know. The medical profession needs to know. So that we can make informed choices and give informed consent.

To “integrate” the “research efforts” of a variety of autism organizations? What does this mean? One wonders if a bunch of anti-vaccine autism quackery organizations decided to pool their money to hire Wakefield to be an autism quackery czar of some sort? After all, Wakefield’s salary at Thoughtful House was $270,000 a year, and, unless J.B. Handley were willing to bankroll that hefty sum every year, I doubt that there are too many other organizations that could afford Andy.

Actually, given his history of scientific misconduct, research incompetence, and questionable ethics, no autism organization can afford Andrew Wakefield at any salary. They just haven’t figured it out yet.

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]

117 replies on “Andrew Wakefield dives into even more disrepute”

These quotations are poking at the Possum’s eyeballs. Wakefield seems to be losing the ability even to put pseudoscience in grammatically well-constructed forms. “at the GMC I was accused of”? “which rather extraordinary”? “just tinge of irony”? “jiggery pokery”? GAH! I want my brain cells back!

A couple more things that have crossed my mind:
If GR is taking on Wakefield, that could be why Carrey punched out.
Another thing I have been thinking about for a while is a line from Harry Harrison’s “The Stainless Steel Rat”: “Though fashions in crime and sentencing come and go, there is one crime that will always bring universal detestation. That is being a bungling doctor.”

lol!

“jiggery pokery”, WTF??? Wakefield has been practicing way too much woo, lol.

THANKYOU Orac for your detailed slapdown of this interview. I would LOVE to see you debate Wakefield instead of Offit. That would be priceless…Wakefield would run away crying like a baby, lol. He makes me sick with his lies and woo. Why won’t he just disappear? Ugh!

@3 It would be fun to see such a debate. The trouble with a debate though is that it assumes there are two sides to each story. Facts don’t have two sides, so Wakefield really couldn’t do much arguing.

Wakefield’s ideas certainly deserve to be ridiculed though.

This is rather off topic, but I thought this would be a good place to get some solid information.

My wife has been trying for years to convince me that my son’s autism is caused by vaccines. Her latest two approaches are as follows:

1. She’s making a big deal about the fact that vaccines “bypass the immune system’s first line of defense.” So my question: Is there any difference between the immune response elicited by a vaccine, as opposed to the immune response elicited by natural exposure to a disease?

2. She’s also saying that “vaccines can cause brain damage, and the symptoms are identical to what we are now calling autism.” She says, “I challenge you to learn what vaccine damage can look like (e.g., reduced consciousness, lack of eye contact), and then tell me that some/much/most of the ‘autism spectrum’ we see today isn’t vaccine damage.” What would be a good response to this?

Obviously, I’m not a scientist. Please help me formulate responses (in layman’s terms) to these claims. I appreciate any help anyone is willing to offer. Thanks.

@5
Anthony

Facts don’t have two sides, so Wakefield really couldn’t do much arguing.

I think you meant to say “Wakefield shouldn’t do much arguing. He is the last person to realize when he is beat. He is delightfully unaware of the utter lack of critical thinking skills he has shown simply by trying to ‘clear his name’. He should have just disappeared with his money and acted like none of this ever happened.

@Midwest Dad: Vaccines MAY bypass “the immune system’s first line of defense” since some of them are given by injection. This simply means that the vaccines need much less of the disease entity (virus or bacteria) to provoke the immune response. So, your child is exposed to a much smaller dose of antigen than he/she would if they were exposed to someone with the disease. This also means your child is much less likely to CATCH the disease, since there is very little chance (in an immunologically healthy child)the antigen will overwhelm the immune system and actually cause the disease.

Brain damage is NOTHING like autism. Remind your wife that autism is a developmental DELAY, not a developmental STASIS. Ask any health care professional who works with brain-damaged kids; there will come a time when those children have reached their maximum ability to improve. They will never get beyond that point. However, most children with autism who are not also mentally retarded (used in the medical sense, not perjoritively) will continue to learn and develop for the rest of their lives.

I don’t know if your wife will respect the reports from the Vaccine Courts as authoritive, but if she will, Kathleen at Neurodiversity.com has good reviews of all the Special Masters’ findings, with links to the actual reports so anyone can follow them and find Kathleen did not “cherry pick” from them.

I hope this helps. I tried to make things basic, for a layperson.

behind the scenes jiggery pokery

I have no idea what that means, but it sure does sound like fun!

I’m sure that Andy is “making the rounds” of sympathetic chat shows/websites.Null now has his own “internet radio/TV network”,the Progressive Radio Network,”PRN”(so that it might be confused with NPR?- see website)where he hosts several shows(and has shows hosted by Mayer Eisenstein and Mike Adams)where Andy might show up(maybe as a host eventually?);he has already been on the radio show.(BTW-yesterday,while looking over maps for my next N.CA trip, I came across the “San Andreas Fault” zone- suddenly I realized that “San Andreas” is Spanish for “St. Andrew”!!!!how apropo!)

@FreeSpeaker Child prostitution? Then again, if someone said that having sex with a child cured a “vaccine injury” (and had some anecdote), I would not be surprised if even that was pimped.

Yes, they’ll go that low.

@12:

I think you’re overstating it. I doubt that even Wankerfield, Mercola, or McCarthy would do *that*.

“Jiggery pokery” is just a bit of British slang, meaning much the same thing as North American “hocus pocus”.

About Andy’s last statement:”to look directly at environmental causes included within that of course is vaccines”…so maybe he’ll be working with Deirdre Imus?

Let’s hope Dr. Wakefield’s editor introduces him to the comma. Does he always communicate in the stream-of-consciousness mode? If this is any indication of the quality of the text, it will be brain-damage inducing in it’s tediousness.
“My concern is to rue it in or rue it out.”
He should have rued the day he published his first word.

@17:

In fairness to Wakefield (not that he deserves any), the lack of commas and use of rue instead of rule are likely transcription issues. It’s unlikely he had anything to do with the transcription of his interview.

I wonder if it has ever occurred to Wakefield that if you’re sitting down with a homeopathic quack (who is also a germ theory of disease denialist, correct?), something might be wrong. If I was a proponent of something the entire scientific community rejected, the last thing I’d want to do is associate myself with someone like that. It seems as if quackery, opposition to ‘mainstream science’ is an end in and of itself. Like those guys in high school who thought a band was cool because no one else liked them and popular ones were bad because they were popular.

@Party Cactus

Interesting point. Wakefield promotes a germ-theory-based cause of autism (measles in the gut). Yet Mercola is supporting him. An example of the theory of crank magnetism, I guess. Although perhaps Wakefield is just moving toward a denial of germ theory, since one of the studies in which he was involved looked at thimerosal, rather than any antigens in the vaccines.

@5: “She’s also saying that “vaccines can cause brain damage, and the symptoms are identical to what we are now calling autism.””
Actual brain damage comes in many different forms and manifested symptoms, so it’s useless to discuss it as a single category. In any event, if there’s anything that can be said about the neurological basis of autism, it’s that it’s NOTHING LIKE gross trauma or defects.

“In fairness to Wakefield (not that he deserves any), the lack of commas and use of rue instead of rule are likely transcription issues.”

In fairness to kids with autism and all who need immunization to stay healthy, what’s needed to punctuate Wakefield’s career is a period.

Now, if you had asked me a month ago if Andy Wakefield could sink any lower, I would have said “no”.

Clearly, I was wrong.

That he had to resort to Mercola to find a sympathetic audience speaks volumes about his imploding career. His repeated claims to have exculpatory evidence that will clear him of the GMC’s rebuke are reminiscent of Richard Kimble’s endless search for “the one-armed man” in the television series The Fugitive.

As for his new job to “integrate the research efforts of a variety of autism organizations around the world”, my suspicion is that it will involve nothing more than regular contributions to “Age of Autism”.

Andy Wakefield needs to face facts and make some tough decisions. His career as a scientist ended years ago; his career as a physician is about to end – he needs to take stock and salvage what he can.

However, I think his extreme narcissism will force him onto the self-destructive path we have seen so often in the past. He seems unable to admit – even to himself – that he was wrong and that he made “poor choices”. By insisting that he did nothing wrong and is the victim of a conspiracy to silence “the truth” and (in his eyes) its chief proponent, he will commit the career equivalent of “CFIT” (“controlled flight into terrain” – aviation jargon for flying into a mountain).

It will be an ugly spectacle and all the uglier for being so avoidable.

Prometheus

Prometheus: I’d say it’s more reminiscent of O. J. Simpson’s quest to find his wife’s killer.

@Prometheus: IIRC, the “one-armed man” really WAS the killer in The Fugitive.

(Just checked Univ-Google…Wikipedia strikes again: “David Janssen starred as Richard Kimble, a doctor from the fictional town of Stafford, Indiana, who is falsely convicted of his wife’s murder and given the death penalty. En route to death row, Kimble’s train derails and crashes, allowing him to escape and begin a cross-country search for the real killer, a “one-armed man” (played by Bill Raisch). At the same time, Dr. Kimble is hounded by the authorities, most notably by Stafford Police Lieutenant Philip Gerard (Barry Morse).”

So, Wakers is more like Lieutenant Gerard…sure he has the right man when he’s WAY off base.

So, Wakers is more like Lieutenant Gerard…sure he has the right man when he’s WAY off base.

Except that outside his fanatically held faith in Kimble’s guilt, Gerard was in all other ways intensely competent, and completely honorable. You’d never catch Gerard paying children for their blood at a birthday party, or taking money to generate evidence favorable to some party’s lawsuit, even if he happened to believe that that party was in the right.

(Sorry, Fugitive fan here; couldn’t resist the chance to burble about the show…)

What the hell is that pink grapefruit “jiggery pokery” stuff in the bowl on the table beside Weasel Boy? Crystals? Why is Snakefield’s head so small compared to the rest of his body? Did you see the size of those hands? The better to (colono)scope you with, my dear! You know what they say about big hands…there’s usually a delusional ego to match.

I retract my comparison of Wakefield to Richard Kimble. And a comparison to OJ Simpson doesn’t work for because I think that Wakefield really believes that he’s right.

Maybe it’s the Pollyanna in me, but I think that Wakefield really does believe that he’s right and the scientific community is conspiring against him. In one way, that makes Wakefield seem less of a slimeball – he thinks he is right and that any “shortcuts” he took were justified (and balanced out) by the “good work” he’s done.

On the other hand, it would mean that he’s gone ’round the twist.

I, for one, can’t wait until Wakefield reveals the “extensive documentary evidence” he has that will (in his imagination) exonerate him and his colleagues. I imagine that it will be like the final scene in The Shining, where Jack’s wife finds page after page covered with “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Let’s hope Andy doesn’t show up at the door with an axe.

“Heeere’s Andy!”

Prometheus

Dr. Wakefield claims to be a GI surgeon but he clearly doesn’t understand that liver disease causes elevated ammonia levels that cause encephalopathy. It isn’t anything wrong with the patient’s gut. Yes, the treatment is related to decreasing the ammonia level by working on digestion but that doesn’t mean there is a malfunction of the gut. If he doesn’t understand hepatic encephalopathy then I don’t have much faith in his understanding morbidity outside his area of “expertise”.

I have rarely read such bile. It would be interesting to see where these correspondents are coming from. But they do have a distinctive charateristic that gives me a clue. They are long winded but they don’t say anything.

At the risk of repeating myself – there are no unvaccinated autistic people in the UK as far as a substantial level of enquiry can determine – I believe it is very likely that the same is true in the USA – I have seen nothing anywhere to rebut that. The proponents of the Danish autism studies the main plank of vaccines don’t cause autism proposition are seen to be crooks (Poul Thoresen & Kristeen Madsen, one took off with $2 millions whilst the other cosied up to the CDC and was willing to fiddle the books) whilst the others were employees of the Danish State Serum Institute or the CDC. Really unbelievable that a government body could pile so much money into the Aarhus University project that $2 millions was left sloshing around for Thoresen to make off with. Unbelievable too that Aarhus could imagine that a respectable piece of research could be produced by such a bunch of potentially corrupt people. When Thoresen is found I think the whole shoddy truth may come out.

In Britain Dr Brent Taylor who conducted the North Thames Study, another vaccines/autism rebuttal, won’t release his papers it being argued that the work was being done for the government. Well that qualifies it for the Freedom of Information Act this too may soon come into the public domain.

Lastly Dr Paul Offitt the high priest of the vaccines industry says ‘science is not a democracy’ well, fancy that because he agrees with me. Autism and vaccines is a totalitarian state headquartered in Texas and protected by exactly the same sort of tactics employed in an earlier age by the goons who erected the Berlin Wall. In time, not much longer now, it will collapse around them. Then we will see that Andrew Wakefield was a prophet not a cheat!

Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

At the risk of repeating myself – there are no unvaccinated autistic people in the UK as far as a substantial level of enquiry can determine

Bullshit. Prove it.

Midwest Dad @6: Brain Injury is my field (researcher), and brain damage, even congenital brain damage, is *nothing* like autism. Brain damage, as its name suggests, causes permanent catastrophic physical damage in the brain that will mildly or severely affect physical and cognitive processes. It isn’t quite static, but the progress of brain damage is different from developmental delay like autism.

One of the diseases that can cause brain damage in children is meningitis(a vaccine preventable disease). Your child has a much higher chance of permanent brain or physical injury or death from being unvaccinated.

The CDC has a nice page that explains in layman’s terms how vaccines work.

At the risk of repeating myself – there are no unvaccinated autistic people in the UK as far as a substantial level of enquiry can determine – I believe it is very likely that the same is true in the USA – I have seen nothing anywhere to rebut that.

Then you simply are not looking. For example, there is an extremely lengthy thread on mothering.com (a very popular forum for antivax mothers) with many mothers at their wits end because they were led to believe that if they didn’t vax then their children could not become autistic. Several of them were frantic and felt obviously betrayed by people that repeat lies like you are doing. The diehards were going to extreme lengths trying to explain it away that would make anyone that hasn’t drunk the Kool-Aid facepalm so hard their ears would bleed.

I feel sorry for parents that aren’t able to see the harm people like you are causing, Tony. Andrew Wakefield is a con man, and the increasing depths he is going to in order to keep the gravy train running on his one claim to fame proves it.

At the risk of repeating myself – there are no unvaccinated autistic people in the UK as far as a substantial level of enquiry can determine – I believe it is very likely that the same is true in the USA – I have seen nothing anywhere to rebut that.

@30, you can repeat yourself all you like, doesn’t make it true. When your observations make it into a legitimate, peer-reviewed journal, then you can bring it, until then, you are barking at the moon. The rest of your post is silly, little conspiracy rubbish, heavily embellished because the truth is so much more mundane and does not, at all, diminish the validity of those studies.

Thanks to all who have responded to my query. Even more responses would be welcome. I deeply appreciate it! The more solid explanations I can provide to my wife, the better off (maybe) everyone in my home will be.

#33 ababa: Could you link to that discussion you referenced on mothering.com? I’d like to show it to my wife.

@tony bateson

The last time you made this claim was a week ago (April 6th 2010 verified by the magic of google). At that time not only were you given anecdotal accounts of unvaccinated autistic people but a commenter linked to 2 published studies that had statistics on unvaccinated autistic people.

Have you not had time to read the papers? Unable to access them? Read them but can’t comprehend what they say? A liar?

@Tony Bateson

At the risk of repeating myself – there are no unvaccinated autistic people in the UK as far as a substantial level of enquiry can determine – I believe it is very likely that the same is true in the USA

First, as Orac said, prove it. Second, in the USA, you may have heard of a woman named Kim Stagliano. Her youngest child is unvaccinated and has autism.

@JohnV
Could You be so kind and post a link to that discussion, I’m not apparently as skilled “googler” and didn’t find it – but I have heard that same argument before and would like to read published studies about the subject.
Thanks!

Midwest dad: Trust your wife. Selectively vaccinate. Dr. OFfit will now be (hopefully) feeling pretty stupid about monkey virus contamination in his rotateq vaccine. Yeah, cause you know babies really need that.
I do sympathize with you. Now that they’ve taken away illnesses such as chicken pox and mumps (that are pretty much benign in childhood but worse to get as adults) we are in a bit of a pickle. I would try to expose my kid to chicken pox naturally and maybe get one MMR but when the kid is around 3. They’ve played God, pushed the concept too far and fucked up.

At the risk of repeating myself – there are no unvaccinated autistic people in the UK as far as a substantial level of enquiry can determine – I believe it is very likely that the same is true in the USA.

If we were to believe GR’s phone survey results, about 6% of all completely unvaccinated children have an ASD diagnosis.

Because of methodological biases in the survey, that might not be right, but a rate much higher than 1% is to be expected because of genetics.

Midwest Dad:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=1077468

A word of warning though, it gets waist deep in there. The forum in general does not allow debate and the moderators regularly silence anyone that questions the anti-vax party line. The ironic thing is that they have a big disclaimer post at the top of the forum telling people to:

“Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking care because of something you have read here.”

then practically every other post is handing out medical advice and telling people to ignore doctors and ways to skirt vaccination laws. They even post examples of how to post their “information” in order to avoid liability.

Also, Todd W. is right – Kim Stagliano of AoA does have three autistic daughters and at least one if not two are completely un-vaccinated. For a group that loves anecdotes, one would think that would make people wonder.

She’s making a big deal about the fact that vaccines “bypass the immune system’s first line of defense.” So my question: Is there any difference between the immune response elicited by a vaccine, as opposed to the immune response elicited by natural exposure to a disease?

This really makes no sense at all, because for a disease to evoke an immune response (indeed, to contract the disease at all), the disease organism must already have gotten past the body’s “first line of defense.” In many cases, the immune response provoked by the actual disease is more intense than that provoked by a vaccine. Yet none of the diseases that we routinely vaccinate against–even those that are capable of producing brain damage, like measles–produce a syndrome that resembles typical autism.

@ ababa:it appears that at least *some* anti-vaxxers explain unvaccinated children’s autism as being due to their *mothers’* vaccinations.

jen:

Selectively vaccinate. Dr. OFfit will now be (hopefully) feeling pretty stupid about monkey virus contamination in his rotateq vaccine.

It is now obvious you are just making things up! How does a deep scan of RotaRix that found porcine circovirus 1 DNA get turned into RotaTeq having monkey virus?

re: ababa’s link

Yeah, ababa has posted that before, and it is an older thread, but still pretty telling.

Those are some pretty serious whackos. As Denice notes, they do blame the mothers’ vaccinations, among other random “toxins” that are always present, apparently. Mercury around the house, it seems.

The most important thing to notice: the entire discussion is premised on the idea that autism must be caused by “toxins.” If it’s not vaccines, it’s the mother’s vaccines, or other toxins around. No one ever comes up and asks, “Maybe it’s just one of those things that happens?”

Yeah, I’ve posted it a couple times. It’s an excellent example of the damage anti-vaxers cause by practically promising good results from avoiding vaccinations. They shun people who have experiences that don’t reinforce their belief system, and either delete references or twist into crazy pretzels trying to justify their beliefs. For a group that claims to exist solely for support, try seeing how much “support” you get if your story doesn’t match theirs.

The whole mothering forum is filled with “crunchy” mommies that are convinced they are capable of controlling every variable through some easy to follow plan of being “natural”. They never realize that everything was “natural” a hundred years ago when the average lifespan was a great deal less. Those that do are fond of attributing it all to “clean water”.

They seem to update their Disclaimers fairly regularly. I’m sure the whole forum gives their lawyers seizures.

On the mercury thing, I saw one mom on a local forum go apeshit insane because she broke on of those energy CFC lightbulbs. She was ready to call out the Hazmat team for cleanup and move to a motel for a week. It turned into a big discussion about whether saving energy was “worth the risk”.

The Internet is a great benefit to society, but in the hands of stay at home parents with too much time on their hands it is a terrible weapon.

Another theory popular on MDC threads about unvaccinated autistic children is that it was the mother’s fillings, with the evil mercury, that caused it.

The thing about this Bateson character is that his sole apparent involvement in anything is to creep around the web making his little allegation. He knows it’s false. He knows about Ms Stagliano, and the studies which have been done. He knows about the parents who protest whenever he makes his claim.

But he carries on. Because his sole aim is to do what he does: to creep around the web causing others confusion and distress. That’s how he gets off. That’s where he finds his sense of self-importance. Pitiful really.

This is not a guy with one shred of continuing concern about autism, vaccine safety or children’s health.

He’s just a creep.

Not surprisingly, once the “vaccines bypass the immune system” argument got shot down, she’s now playing the additive card:

“The vaccines contain fewer antigens but they also contain mercury, aluminum and other adjuvants, whose purpose is to boost the immune response to the fewer antigens. These things are known to be harmful.”

My guess is that although “these things are known to be harmful,” they are not harmful in the amounts used in vaccines. Yes?

@Midwest Dad

My guess is that although “these things are known to be harmful,” they are not harmful in the amounts used in vaccines. Yes?

That is correct. Also to note, in the U.S., the only vaccines that contain mercury are the flu vaccine and meningococcal vaccine, though mercury-free versions of both are available.

Thank You JohnV!
Those who believe that there are no autism in non-vaccinated kids – is it really so that there were no autism before (MMR) vaccines? Pretty hilarious thought – in my humble opinnion.

Midwest dad: Trust your wife. Selectively vaccinate. Dr. OFfit will now be (hopefully) feeling pretty stupid about monkey virus contamination in his rotateq vaccine. Yeah, cause you know babies really need that.

It wasn’t monkey virus contamination Einstein, it was DNA retroviral fragments, most likely emanating from host cells that had been integrated. http://www.virology.ws/2010/03/29/deep-sequencing-reveals-viral-vaccine-contaminants/#comments

@Science Mom

Go easy on jen. She still doesn’t get the difference between a credible, scientific source of information and a festering pile of conspiracy and fear mongeringthe NVIC.

The vaccines contain fewer antigens but they also contain mercury, aluminum and other adjuvants, whose purpose is to boost the immune response to the fewer antigens. These things are known to be harmful.

Mercury is not an adjuvant, but a preservative that has been used to prevent bacterial contamination of multidose vaccine bottles. It has been removed from all standard childhood vaccines, but it is not in fact known to be harmful at the very tiny amounts involved. The symptoms of mercury toxicity are very well known due to some instances of environmental poisoning with mercury (at much larger doses and in a more dangerous chemical form), and have never been observed with vaccination. Aluminum is an adjuvant used to insure a strong immune response to a very small does of antigen, but the amount is very small and we take in much larger amounts from dietary sources. No substance used as an adjuvant is known to be harmful in the very small amounts used.

after reading all this i can not understand how on earth anyone can say that there is no autism in the unvacnated so if that where true when did it apear. always wondered about that. makes feel like i steped down the rabbit hole into an differant reality

also i read historical bios all day the child mortality is shocking compared to today. it is a rare family that all there children make it to adualthood. these are poeple who did things worthy of being wirten about so they are not always coming from the slums of london we are so damn lucky and don’t even know or appraite it.

and orac for some really depressing reading try the smallpox outbreak in stockhome sweeden in 1871 it will piss u off but it is educational

Midwest Dad

Not surprisingly, once the “vaccines bypass the immune system” argument got shot down, she’s now playing the additive card:

“The vaccines contain fewer antigens but they also contain mercury, aluminum and other adjuvants, whose purpose is to boost the immune response to the fewer antigens. These things are known to be harmful.”

I know you have to tread carefully here, but you have a problem. Your wife, it appears, is not arguing in good faith. She is basically throwing shit against the wall and hoping some of it sticks. It goes like

Make claim A
Explain why A is incorrect
“Well, that may be so, but what about B?”
Explain why B is incorrect
“Oh well, that doesn’t matter because of C”
Explain why C is incorrect
.
.
.
continue through the alphabet and On Beyond Zebra

You have to make her put it out there – what would have to be true for her to accept that vaccines are safe? As it is right now, she is starting with the premise that vaccines are bad and she is just looking for reasons to justify that position.

I fear that if you press her on it, you will discover that there is nothing you can say that will get her to change her mind, which means that your discussion is a waste of time.

BTW, be willing and able to answer the question in reverse. You should be able to know exactly what you could find that would convince you that vaccines were dangerous.

historygeek

after reading all this i can not understand how on earth anyone can say that there is no autism in the unvaccinated

One would think, yeah, but never underestimate the level of dishonesty that some people will sink to.

@Pablo: Yeah, you’re right. When I point out that the additives in vaccines are not harmful at their small doses, she says “well, they’re harmful for SOME, including me and your son.”

You can’t really argue with someone like that . . .

When I point out that the additives in vaccines are not harmful at their small doses, she says “well, they’re harmful for SOME, including me and your son.”

Ah, so she is even begging the question, great.

“What evidence do you have that they have been harmful?”
“Well, he has autism, and he was vaccinated.”
“But why do you think the vaccines caused his autism?”
“Because he is vaccinated, and has autism.”
“But there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism.”
“Well, they caused his.”
“Why do you think that?”
“Because he has autism.”

etc

What makes her claim the additives in vaccines are harmful to her?

Midwest Dad – I’m very sorry your son has autism. But surely what matters now isn’t how he got it, but what you’re going to do about it?

I don’t believe your wife is going to be interested in any argument you can find against her set belief that autism is caused by vaccines. You are probably wasting your time and your breath trying to convince her differently; because (and I say this as someone who considers herself religious) anti-vaxxers are a bit like religious nutters – “I know I’m right because I know I’m right.”

You know she’s wrong. But if you continue trying to convince her that she’s wrong, you may end up with a wife who digs her heels in. You may end damaging your marriage, and heaven knows it’s already going through enough stress with the autism diagnosis. So, let it go, and instead focus on finding therapies that work. If she wants to try something that is proven to be dangerous to your child (chelation, etc.) that’s when you put up the good fight. If you have other children and she doesn’t want to vaccinate them, that’s when you put up the good fight. But for this child, how it happened isn’t as important as what comes next.

@maydijo: I’d be happy to drop the subject and focus on how best to help my son, except that wife’s views on vaccines have morphed into a burning hatred of the government, doctors, and modern medicine itself, which she rails against continually; she’s already trying to brainwash my girls into not vaxing their kids; she refuses further vaccinations for my children; she tells the kids she’d be “ashamed” if they entered the medical profession (except maybe if they became chiropractors or homeopaths); she wants to pursue treatments predicated on autism as vaccine injury; she refers to my son as “brain damaged” and “broken”; and she calls me vile names (“bad father” is the most printable) because I don’t share her views. I could go on and on but this isn’t a marriage counseling session.

So . . . I’d be glad to let this whole vaccine thing go. But it’s thrown in my face almost every day.

Another legacy of the antivaccine movement. I wonder how many other relationships it’s damaged.

I’m sorry, Midwest Dad, for speaking out of turn. I can understand the desire to blame something or someone; I hope she is able to move past that and to focus on the beautiful person that I have no doubt your son still is.

I suggest, if you can swing it constructively, a “media quarantine”. Also see if you can identify any source of stress. Without reinforcement and underlying problems which may feed this sort of thinking, she may at least become willing to discuss issues respectfully.

Mr. Bateson perseverates:

“At the risk of repeating myself – there are no unvaccinated autistic people in the UK as far as a substantial level of enquiry can determine – I believe it is very likely that the same is true in the USA – I have seen nothing anywhere to rebut that.”

At the risk of repeating myself, Mr. Bateson has been informed – by me and several others – that there are unvaccinated autistic people in the USA and also in the UK.

Repeating the same incorrect assertion is not the same as having data, Mr. Bateson, as you have been repeatedly told.

Prometheus

Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

Is this an argument from geographical authority?

I enjoyed this response to one of Mr. Bateson’s posts here:

Hi, i’m just over from England. We have a village missing an idiot. He answers to the name of Tony. If you see him, can you give him a nice cup of cocoa and send him back please. Be kind, he scares easily.

The link in 37, to Kim Stagliano’s blog, gives us this:

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Kim Stagliano said…

I am asking if vaccine schedules are a contributing factor to the current epidemic of neurological illnesses including autism. I’m not asking if they are the one and only cause. Nor am I implying it’s all about the mercury. My youngest had a traumatic inutero injury with birth related oxygen issues and inherited a mercury/toxin load from me. You know, the genetics part.

8:22 AM

Then later that day:

Kim Stagliano said…

Nurse – I thought I was not vaccinating my third – but I forgot the vitamin K at birth. I had a sign in her Isolette NO HEP B! But neglected to say No Vitamin K! We know more about giving our kids Tylenol or Motrin than we do about what the hospital puts into a newborn. I’ll bet new Moms read the Motrin dosage EVERY TIME they give it – the fetus, the 6 month old and the 75 year old get the same flu vaccine dosage…..
5:00 PM

I’m not quite sure how toxin load relates to genetics – nor where Vit K fits in vaccination theology.

Kim’s referring to Vitamin K as a “vaccine” lends credence to the notion that the antivaxers are simply afraid of needles; apparently a “vaccine” is simply anything that gets injected into a kid, with the fact that it’s injected being the Bad Part.

ebohlman:

apparently a “vaccine” is simply anything that gets injected into a kid, with the fact that it’s injected being the Bad Part

If that was true, then they should have no problem with rotavirus vaccines, since they are oral and not injected.

If that was true, then they should have no problem with rotavirus vaccines, since they are oral and not injected.

Well, as we saw yesterday, their (ok, HER) approach on that is just to say it is injected.

It’s not like reality matters all that much in an anti-vax crusade.

Journal Checker — wow. She thinks vitamin K is a vaccine. And that it is less well understood than, say, ibuprofen. *shakes head* I thought anti-vaxxers were supposed to be all happy about vitamins and supplements and things? Maybe in addition to the whole “injected” part, she can’t get her head around the idea of *doctors* and *nurses* recommending a *vitamin*?

On the other hand, I guess now her “you know, the genetics part” (in reference to hypothetical fetal toxin exposure) doesn’t seem quite so peculiar. Obviously she has only a passing familiarity with these words.

Nurse – I thought I was not vaccinating my third – but I forgot the vitamin K at birth. I had a sign in her Isolette NO HEP B! But neglected to say No Vitamin K! We know more about giving our kids Tylenol or Motrin than we do about what the hospital puts into a newborn. I’ll bet new Moms read the Motrin dosage EVERY TIME they give it – the fetus, the 6 month old and the 75 year old get the same flu vaccine dosage…..

Yeah, it’s a really bad idea to prevent a newborn from contracting a hemorrhagic disease.

At the risk of repeating myself – there are no unvaccinated autistic people in the UK as far as a substantial level of enquiry can determine – I believe it is very likely that the same is true in the USA – I have seen nothing anywhere to rebut that.

And this is where Tony Bateson reveals that he is nothing but a miserable monkeyfightin’ liar, because on other sites where he has made this ridiculous “no unvaccinated autistic people” claim I personally made known to him Generation Rescue’s own phone survey which reported numerous such people.

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