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The CDC whistleblower William W. Thompson: Final (for now) roundup and epilogue

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It is as I had feared. I must do one more post on a story that I’ve been blogging about for one solid week now. Hopefully after this, I will be able to move on to other topics last week, but after spending this whole week writing just about this, I figured, “What the heck? It’s Friday. Might as well make it a solid week and move on next week. I hope.” What am I referring to? Those familiar with the story, as in past installments, can skip the recap (but shouldn’t). I feel obligated to include one because of all the new readers who have appeared for these peerless bits of, in this case, not-so-Respectful Insolence.

This whole story about a “CDC whistleblower,” who, or so the rabid antivaccine contingent hoped, would “blow the lid” off of a massive CDC conspiracy to hide The Truth and bring their conspiracy theory to the mainstream press, is still limping along, even in light of the rather mealy-mouthed and disingenuous statement by the CDC whistleblower himself. This Revelation of The Truth would then build in the mainstream press to the point of leading to investigations of the CDC and the discovery of what they’ve hoped for passionately ever since they became antivaccinationists: Actual scientific evidence that vaccines, or the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal that used to be in most childhood vaccines, cause autism and all sorts of health problems. In this case, they thought that they had found slam-dunk evidence that the CDC had manipulated data to hide an “association” between the MMR vaccine and autism in African American males. At first, in a video by antivaccine hero Andrew Wakefield featuring the antivaccine biochemical engineer turned epidemiologist wannabe, this “whistleblower” was not identified, but then, a week ago, a new video identified him as William W. Thompson, PhD, a psychologist and senior scientist at the CDC, who, apparently, over a ten month period, helped Hooker produce his utterly incompetent “reanalysis” of a ten year old CDC study that had failed to find a difference in age of first MMR vaccination in children with autism compared with neurotypical controls. So incompetent was the analysis that I couldn’t resist titling my post a week ago about it, Brian Hooker proves Andrew Wakefield wrong about vaccines and autism, because that’s basically what he did.

When the expected media storm did not materialize, antivaccine activists lost their collective minds, ineffectively trying the “drip, drip, drip” revelation technique. Even now they are still relentlessly Tweeting the same discredited talking points over and over and over again under the hashtag #CDCwhistleblower, although the Twitter storm appears to be abating as I write this. Unfortunately, in light of Dr. Thompson’s two-edged statement, in which he insinuated that his co-authors on the Destefano et al paper (the ten year old study) had committed scientific misconduct, or, at the very least, very sloppy, ideologically motivated science, while at the same time attacking Brian Hooker for recording his conversations without his permission, which, if true, makes Hooker an utter slimeball in my book, and Andrew Wakefield for revealing his identity without his permission.

It’s all a convoluted mess that basically blew up in Hooker’s face. Hooker played Thompson, gaining his confidence and recording him in the process, while bragging to the faithful that he had an “inside man” who would blow the lid off the CDC. Wakefield played Hooker. We have no way of knowing how Wakefield found out about Hooker and Thompson, but, given Wakefield’s previous behavior, it’s not too far beyond the pale to speculate that Wakefield applied pressure to Hooker to do that video. Then Wakefield betrayed Hooker. Because Wakefield’s reputation is so toxic, he basically destroyed any chance of mainstream media attention to the story, relegating it to the fevered conspiracy swamp of “media” like NaturalNews.com, the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, and a variety of lesser, but no less loony, outfits.

All of this brings us to the question: What now? The story has blown up in Hooker and Wakefield’s faces. It very much reminds me of this:

In this case, I think it’s helpful to go back to the past and then back to the future, so to speak. There have been a couple of odds and ends that I’ve wanted to incorporate into previous posts, but somehow didn’t, and now seems as good a time as any to address them. From the past, let’s look first at Brian Hooker being interviewed at this year’s AutismOne quackfest in May:

For people not long familiar with Hooker and his activities, this is an excellent introduction to the origins of this manufactroversy from the antivaccine point of view. Hooker explains how he used Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to get the CDC dataset. Now here’s where it’s interesting. He says that he used the CDC’s own methods and confirmed its results. Then he claims he realized that the CDC used “very devious, duplicitous statistical methods,” which made me chuckle out loud, given that Hooker used very incompetent statistical methods in his reanalysis. Hilariously, he claims that he analyzed the data correctly, which is utter tripe. As I described, he analyzed data set up to be analyzed as case-control as a cohort study and, as many of you pointed out, used inappropriate statistical tests, all to torture the data until they confessed a relationship between MMR vaccine and autism. However he could only find such a relationship in African American males. As I also described, this relationship was based on very tiny numbers and almost certainly spurious. Basically, Hooker tells the same lies about the study that have been debunked. I wish I had seen this before I saw Hooker’s paper last week.

Hilariously, Hooker laments that most journals don’t want to touch this stuff because it’s so controversial. In retrospect, we know that it’s more likely that the reason journals don’t want to touch papers such as those by Hooker is because, scientifically, they are utter and complete crap. At least he admits that there is such a thing as autism in the unvaccinated. There’s also the usual hodge-podge of “environmental causation” discussed, such as heavy metals, and, of course, GMOs. We do learn, however, that Hooker doesn’t trust the NIH to do a good vaccinated/unvaccinated study, even though one is going on. Of course, what he doesn’t like is that, from every indication we get from other studies, such a study would likely be negative; so instead he weaves conspiracy theories about how the NIH “suppresses” results that support his views and trumpets how he’s going to do a vaccinated/unvaccinated study using a Florida Medicaid database. Of course, given his utter statistical and epidemiological incompetence, there’s no way he could ever properly control for all the potential confounders in such data; so it’s virtually a given that he will be producing another “positive” study. Maybe he’ll get Jake Crosby to do the statistics. I am, however, touched at how much faith Hooker places in “large numbers” as arbiters of the truth in epidemiology. Apparently, he doesn’t realize that analyzing large numbers incorrectly will produce results just as wrong as analyzing smaller datasets.

Next up, hot off the YouTube presses, so to speak, the crank NextNewsNetwork has featured Andrew Wakefield:

I nearly spewed my coffee all over my laptop when the “reporter” described Andrew Wakefield an “international leader” on vaccinations. It’s one of the rare times when words fail me. My dear readers, the things I do for you. Watching the unctuous, arrogant, and smarmy Wakefield for 13 solid minutes induces in me the overwhelming desire to retch and vomit, but I did it anyway, all for you. Notice that, even in light of Dr. Thompson’s statement, the antivaccine talking point remains unchanged: That Dr. Thompson, as the CDC whistleblower, has admitted that the CDC intentionally removed data from Destefano et al in order to hide a relationship between MMR vaccination and autism in African American males. This is not what Dr. Thompson said in his statement. Rather, he insinuated less than scientifically rigorous decision-making at best and scientific misconduct at worst, all trying to temper the insinuation by couching it as “reasonable scientists” disagreeing about interpretation of data. In other words, his statement is far less inflammatory than it is being portrayed. Even Wakefield, cherry picking statements from Hooker’s recordings of Thompson, couldn’t make a case that Thompson had said this.

There’s more race-baiting, in which Wakefield claims that these African American boys were “neglected.” He also claims that this is vindication for him, but, of course, it is not. Notice how he completely neglects to mention that in every other subgroup, even Hooker couldn’t torture the data to make it confess a relationship between age at MMR vaccination and autism in any other population other than a very small population in the study: African-American males. Whenever that happens as you slice epidemiological data finer and finer, you should be alert for the very distinct possibility that what you’re really looking at is a spurious correlation. As I pointed out before, Hooker in reality merely confirmed that Wakefield was wrong about everyone except African-American males, and, given how small this subgroup was in the study, almost certainly didn’t find any evidence supporting Wakefield’s hypothesis (such as it is) for even African-American boys. Yet, Wakefield, as deluded as he is, spins it as “vindication.” He even thanks Hooker for getting a “senior scientist at the CDC” to come forward and “confirm” that some of those “ideas we put forward” are true. Holy hell! Even if you spin Thompson’s statements in the most unflattering manner possible towards the CDC and his co-investigators, Thompson said nothing of the sort!

Hilariously, the interviewer actually asks one pretty good question: Whether Wakefield had ever observed a greater effect of MMR causing autism in black male babies. Naturally, he took the opportunity to spin these results as an excuse to mention his dubious statements about Somali immigrants in Minnesota. Then, while implicitly acknowledging that Hooker’s reanalysis didn’t confirm his belief for white children (I refuse to call it a hypothesis any more) that MMR causes autism, proposes a much larger study to determine if MMR causes autism in non-African American children. No matter what the data show, to Wakefield MMR causes autism. Particularly despicable, however, is Wakefield’s repeated assertion that, because of the CDC “fraud,” for 13 years children have gone “untreated and uncared for.” Translation: Mainstream medicine haven’t embraced my biomedical quackery to treat autism as “vaccine injury” because it doesn’t accept that vaccines cause autism.

In any case, the rest of the interview is the same talking points we’ve heard ad nauseam from Wakefield. He does, however, get one more good question. Near the end of the interview, the interviewer makes the observation that one of the arguments against vaccines causing autism is that correlation does not equal causation and then asks him if there’s been a correlation between low vaccine uptake and spikes in vaccine-preventable diseases in unvaccinated children. (I know! Shocking! Actually another pretty good question that I bet Wakefield didn’t see coming! The answer is yes, by the way.) Wakefield completely ignores that part of the question and tries to convince the interviewer that correlation of autism diagnoses with vaccination is “not a coincidence,” something he repeats multiple times. He doesn’t answer at all about spikes in infectious disease in unvaccinated children, but rather finishes with a flourish of “too many too soon” and the “toxins gambit,” while calling for prosecution of CDC officials.

So at the end of all this, I’m still left wondering: WTF happened with Dr. Thompson? I’m beginning to wonder more and more if he has started down that slippery slope to becoming antivaccine. His public statement makes me wonder, and so does this snippet of conversation surreptitiously recorded by Brian Hooker, in which he states unequivocally that he thinks that thimerosal-containing vaccines given to pregnant women will result in tics in the infant and that there is “biological plausibility” that thimerosal causes “autism-like” features. Of course, his very own study, published in the NEJM in 2007, does not show that, nor do any other reputable studies. True, his followup paper found what was described as a “small, but statistically significant association between early thimerosal exposure and the presence of tics in boys,” but also cautioned that this “finding should be interpreted with caution due to limitations in the measurement of tics and the limited biological plausibility regarding a causal relationship.” There were also significant limitations in the study, for instance:

This study was also limited by the relatively crude measurement of tics. All the other outcome measures assessed in this study used reliable and valid measures that have published manuals, which allowed the researchers to provide feedback to parents of the child. Furthermore, all testers underwent a 2-day training session and required them to reach a specific level of reliability in terms of administering the tests appropriately as documented in the published assessment manuals. The tics assessments, however, carried out by the testers did not require them to meet any reliability criteria and the testers had no prior training in neurology or tic assessments. The only training the testers received for tic assessments was based on viewing a 30-min training video (“Tourette Syndrome: A Guide to Diagnosis of TS,” 1989).

Now, two years later, Thompson has gone from a tentative finding of a slight increase in tics in boys to saying that because tics are more common in autistic children, that there’s biological plausibility to the hypothesis that thimerosal causes “autism-like” features in children when given in vaccines to their mothers during pregnancy? WTF? It’s really hard not to conclude from his statements regarding tics and thimerosal that Dr. Thompson has not gone at least partially antivaccine, which, if true, may explain much.

I conclude as I began, by asking “What now?” It’s obvious that the antivaccine contingent will flog this story for all it’s worth as long as they can, but fortunately the mainstream press doesn’t appear to be getting the message. It’s also clear that Hooker will continue to crank out incompetently performed epidemiological papers that torture the data until they confess a relationship between vaccines and autism. After this kerfuffle, however, he will be even more unlikely to find an epidemiologist or statistician to team up with him, other than perhaps Jake Crosby, who still hasn’t finished school yet. I only wonder whether Thompson will go full antivax now that he’s been outed, perhaps further assisting incorrectly identified “unbiased scientists” like Hooker, or whether he’ll just put his head down and try to ride the storm out, hopefully perhaps to do good work again someday. I don’t know. I do know that Thompson has done horrific harm, but, thankfully, because of Wakefield, that harm is much less than it would have been if Thompson’s allegations had reached the mainstream media untainted by association with Wakefield.

Now can I please write about something else next week?

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]

578 replies on “The CDC whistleblower William W. Thompson: Final (for now) roundup and epilogue”

Dr. Andrew Wakefield Breaks Silence on CDC Whistleblower

“Breaks Silence”? More like breaks wind. When has Wakefraud been silent about anything revolving around him? That’s part of the problem, he won’t shut the eff up.

You’ve put the fork in this one, Orac, and it’s done.

The inability to think rationally is what makes anti-vaccinationists their own worst enemy. Wakefield is not their friend, hero, or savior. But hey, if they want to hitch their wagon to a self-serving, bottom-feeding, scum sucking parasite of the lowest order–well, who am I to try and stop them?

Since it is highly unlikely that any new information will be forthcoming (except, perhaps, the results of the eventual disposition of Hooker’s paper – maybe retracted or something similar), the AoA folks & the “nut-o-sphere” will just continue to regurgitate the same old stories in an attempt to keep the situation relevant, but it will be all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Have a great holiday weekend Orac – you’ve earned it this week.

Thanks for the week of posts.

So far it’s been most interesting to read the critiques of the data torture, as well as the character profiling! All has only cemented the desperate nature of hooker etc.

I have to say, this and only this piece of the story has given me real pause for thought, though. I found those little snippets from Thompson kind of disturbing. I mean I know they are selective edits but here is a man in the field saying what sound like fairly specific points of concern.

So I was waiting for your blog on this matter. The Andy video I wasn’t prepared for but that’s another matter!

It’s interesting though that in response the main thrust you’ve come up with Orac is that Thompson has gone off the deep end. The tics thing I’ve never read about before (just an interested patent with anti Vax people around me) so I guess I’ll have to read those linked posts to understand more deeply.

I guess I’m making this comment as it strikes me at least curious that someone who has studied the topic and raised in research (with significant qualifiers) something of potential interest or concern (mercury and ‘autism behaviours’) is now appearing to have definite concerns. Is it really reducable to just saying he had gone off the deep end? Is this a specific topic yet has received the same depth of epidemological attention that vaccines and autism has more broadly? Is is there possibly legitimate scope for scientific disagreement about causal links and biological mechanims between thermisol and some behaviours ?

I’m honestly not baiting or seeking a ‘chink in the armour’ – it’s more my reaction to the concept of a CDC researcher appearing to have specific concerns and change of view, for some reason presumably founded in his work. It just isn’t feeling as simple to throw aside as the other stuff. But maybe that’s just my uninformed read on things…

@Eliot – from the quotes given by Wakefield, it is impossible to determine the context of the statements by Thompson – it is quite possible that he was merely speaking in hypotheticals….the data, on the other hand, is available for everyone to see & critique – and even if there was data that might have seemed significant back in 2003 / 2004 before the paper was published, Hooker certainly did not “uncover” it with his statistical non-methodology.

So, I would expect that Orac would not and cannot comment directly on those comments because they lack the very context that would allow them to be independently evaluated. All we have is what was cherry-picked out of what might have been hours of conversations.

Come to think of it, its even worse – the reason Hooker had to “slice and dice & torture the data” in the way that he did, was so that his results would validate what he had been told by Thompson – he was told that there was some statistical information that might show an increased risk for African-American boys….so Hooker did everything in his power to make such a risk apparent in his paper.

So, in this case, again, Hooker already knew what answer he wanted to find – he just had to use whatever methods he could (valid or not) to get to what his goal was.

Science doesn’t work that way – another reason this is a completely invalid paper & the issue in general is a “non-issue.”

It is very difficult to work out Thompson’s motives in all of this. All we really have to go on is his lawyer’s press release and the tics video.

Certainly in both of those he is suggesting first MMR and secondly thiomersal may have effects that have been generally dismissed. In both cases he is going against conclusions of papers for which he was a co-author.

That last to me is the strange bit. If Thompson was worried 10 years ago that there was a problem with the analysis, why did he put his name to the paper?

It is somewhat idle to speculate, but I can’t help feeling there is something else going on here and as a result Thompson has blow up these miniscule molehills into mountains. Not so much that Thompson has gone anti-vax, but he is using this to hit back at the CDC.

There is some surface resemblance to Dr Oz’s descent from a proper doctor into a woo-ridden wannabe celebrity.

My view is that, in the interests of fairness and resolving some of these issues, CDC should write to Brian Hooker and say that, now he has been availed of its data, he should avail CDC of his data.

In short, I believe that Dr Hooker should evidence his good faith in much the way I believe Jenny McCathy should help parents out.

He should co-operate in the assembling of an expert committee, including his own doctors, to run a full panel of genetic tests on his son, along with a thorough assembly of the boy’s clinical history and all other pertinent information.

Although I have never taken any view on whether MMR may or may not cause autism – and I have paid a heavy price in lost income for maintaining that position – I have looked at scores of cases (usually in court disputes, as well as Wakefield’s 1998 series) and have yet to see an account that you would say: “Ah yes, there’s one.”

I would probably take quite a hefty bet on the upshot of any such panel being convened to review the children of the most high profile vaccine accusers.

Of course, it is close to being a statistical certainty that there are kids out there whose first symptoms (as opposed to potential signs) of autism occurred within the time-period to arouse strong suspicion in those minded to suspect. But the chances of Brian Hooker’s or Jenny McCarthy’s weathering such scrutiny are about as likely as a vaccine paper coming out of CDC that hasn’t been pre-screened for public perception.

“Certainly in both of those he is suggesting first MMR and secondly thiomersal may have effects that have been generally dismissed. In both cases he is going against conclusions of papers for which he was a co-author.”

Furthermore I have never seen MMR in multi-dose vials requiring a preservative so I’m probably right in guessing it has never contained thimerosal. So we are to believe that a vaccine and a completely separate and unrelated preservative both cause tics? It sounds too much like someone has predetermined the desired conclusion and is willing to suggest a remarkable coincidence to support that conclusion.

And once again, for anyone reading this thread but not any of the others. Hooker and Thompson both claim that there’s a relationship in African American boys between receiving their first MMR after 36 months of age, and autism.

However, the whole study only had 41 kids (boys & girls, all races) that received their first MMR after 36 mos. And, the original DeStefano paper says:

32 (78%) had documented delays in development before 36 months of age.

So, there were only 9 total kids who received MMR after 36 mos and were not already diagnosed with a developmental problem. Those 9 are the only kids that you could reasonably think developed autism due to MMR after 36 mos.

I don’t know if Hooker and Thompson are too blinded by their convictions to have considered this, or if they’re just ignoring it because it doesn’t fit their preconceived conclusions. But I haven’t seen either of them address it, or explain why it doesn’t invalidate their whole “hypothesis.”

Neither have they addressed their own finding that African American boys receiving MMR before 18 mos are not at increased risk of autism.

Actually Hooker’s paper made no claims regarding children getting their first MMR after 36 months. The claims were for African-American boys between 24 and 36 months or 24 and 31 months.

Pot for autism won’t look good with those crazy people advocating it.
Can it even get a fair trial?

It would be interesting to have more details from Thompson about the data (and statistical results) that persuaded him to go overboard. He is a competent epidemiologist by the look of it.
And was he familiar with the manuscript of Hooker’s paper chock full of epidemiological howlers? Hooker apparently followed on Thompson’s input about the di Stefano study, so It would be a natural thing to show it to him and ask for
an opinion.

Re: the tics video, that sounded even more choppy and edited than any of the previous ones to me. The captions even include ellipses…too many of the statements were along the lines of “thimerosal causes tics” …complete change in tone…”make that your mantra and stick to it.” (sic). The sentences they made it seem like Thompson was saying did sound like anything close to a coherent, chronological sentence structure.

Did anyone else hear that? The tics video was the *least* convincing for me, it sounded the most edited and misconstrued.

*This is not a defense of Thompson, who’s got some ‘splaining to do.

the concept of a CDC researcher appearing to have specific concerns and change of view, for some reason presumably founded in his work.

I think that the events actually argue against the idea that it was something necessarily ‘founded in his work.’ Why wait 10 years?

Dear Orac,

or should that be, Dear Self-Appointed Great Orac?

Why does the multibillion dollar federal “no questions asked, no one denied” Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund even exit? If vaccines are so safe, why that? Clearly vaccines cause admitted harm. Study the Vaccine Injury Table. Are you certain that other non-admitted harm is not being covered up by the CDC? Can you think of any motives for the CDC performing such a cover up? I can, but let’s hear you do that. Let’s see how opened minded you are. Come on – Why would the CDC cover up vaccine injuries?

But of course you won’t. Because you’re not. You are excessively prejudiced and closed-minded. You have made up your mind. You have stated your opinion. Nothing contradicting your stated opinion could budge you from your cemented position. If Wakefield gave you a live video feed of the CDC roasting and lunching on newborn children, you’d still grovel before their throne while ad hominem attacking Wakefield et al, out your prostrated behind, right? Apparently.

Are you positive that the dataset analyzed by Hooker contains all the data the CDC has to offer on potentially linking autism to vaccines? Are you certain that other studies have not shown the dangers of Thimerosal? There are many. Have you open-mindedly analyzed them, or did you already know your answer before you cracked them open? Are you certain that the CDC has not hidden data or perhaps hidden even entire studies which potentially link autism to vaccines? Are you certain that the CDC has not avoided performing studies which potentially would demonstrate that correlation? Doesn’t this unwillingly outed CDC conspirist even make you pause? Are you sure that there’s nothing deeper? Does he know more? Are others hiding results also?

Once this specific data is reanalyzed and more CDC data is analyzed by the many scientists from various camps who will be doing that now that Thompson’s been outed, if Hooker’s & Thompson’s findings are verified, if other broader linkages between autism and vaccines are found with other data, if Thimerosal is dangerous after all, if MMR is dangerous after all – if they were right and you were wrong – what are your intentions? Please let us know prior. Inquiring minds would love to know.

@Yo – you do know that Barbara Loe Fisher (Grand Dame of the Anti-Vaccine Movement) was instrumental in creating the VCIP, right?

Maybe you should ask her….

Yo, inquiring minds should stop reading Inquirer-like materials. Of course vaccines can cause injury. With exceptional infrequency and that is why that mechanism exists. The burden of proof is not great to produce compensation. On the other hand, the number of lives saved and disease-produced side effects prevented so far outnumber the risks that vaccines are recommended by the CDC. If risk did not get seriously outweighed by benefits the CDC would not recommend them. That’s their job.

Apparently hearing Thompson say that thimerosal in vaccines causes not only tics, but “autism-like features”, that TCVs should not be given to pregnant women, and that he would not give one to his wife confirms to me that Thompson is sadly lacking in statistical understanding and well on the way down the antivaccine rabbithole. Here’s how the CDC explained it:

So we would predict by chance alone that 19 of the first 378 individual statistical tests that we ran would be abnormal just because of this chance situation. And, in fact, we found 19 individual tests or just exactly five percent of the very large number of tests that were abnormal.

One of those 19 statistically significant associations was the tics one. As I wrote on another thread yesterday, what that means is that the results obtained were consistent with thimerosal not having anything at all to do with any of the neurodevelopmental problems they looked at. If you are going to claim that the positive association with tics is of any significance, you should also accept that, “with boys increasing thimerosal was associated with increased performance IQ” (a quote from Thompson, ironically), another statistically significant result that is almost certainly due to chance. No one who understood the first thing about stats would conclude from these results that thimerosal in vaccines increases IQ in boys any more than they would conclude it causes tics or autism.

” Might as well make it a solid week..”, said Orac.

And it’s been an entertaining week – I found myself reading and listening to related material from diverse sources ( SB to whimsy-based) to such a great extent that I haven’t really followed Grand Slam tennis much- which is on-going – btw- not that I’m such a great televised sports watcher but I do have to at least be aware of ‘who’s who/ what’s happening’ in order to talk to my fellow/ sister tennis players.

I expect that the usual suspects will continue droning long after we’ve moved on to other topics. In addition, there seems to be increased activity by lower level anti-vaxxers on facebook and twitter, giving them even more avenues by which to fritter away their time and perseverate upon their
tightly circumscribed areas of exclusive interest, as they do.

So Yo

If the CDC was going to expunge data set after data set and shut up dozens if not hundreds of researcher for decade after decade…how’d they let this one slip through?

And vaccine injuries that are from the scientific studies are well understood and expected. That is why they are on informed consent documents.

Do you really believe all these diseases are less harmful than a cold? Given how even a simple cold effects my asthma even that could kill me.

The problem with carving the data into smaller and smaller subsets is you eventually always find something that does not show up again in any study as your method insures you will get a spurious result.

May the kids around your kids all be vaccinated so you don’t have to know the horror of the 1800’s of row after row of tiny caskets in the family plot.

Did you ever stop to think about how little of an anti-vaccine contingent there would be today if Thimerosal had been removed from our vaccines when originally requested/demanded, and replaced with something more benign sounding, if not actually more benign?

Not understanding/predicting/preventing this huge negative reaction can only be accomplished by federal government-sized hubris.

@YoDaddie

From your comment, it seems that you have not done very much reading, at all, on the history of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, vaccines in general, nor the greater scientific literature. Rather, it appears you have read some stuff on anti-vaccine sites, glommed onto it and so wholly wrapped yourself in it that you cannot see anything else.

Tell me, since you imply that you are so open-minded, what would change your position?

YoDaddie,
I can’t answer ofr Orac, but he is no doubt busy, and I’m procrastinating so….

or should that be, Dear Self-Appointed Great Orac?

Self-appointed what? He writes an interesting and informative blog that has attracted a following of well-educated people. If you start your own blog, which is extremely easy to do, and made it equally interesting (not so easy), no doubt you could do the same. No self-appointment necessary.

Why does the multibillion dollar federal “no questions asked, no one denied” Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund even exit?

Too much frivolous litigation was driving drug companies away from manufacturing vaccines. The NVICP was introduced to stop this potentially disastrous trend. It is extremely fair to those who have genuinely been damaged by vaccines. I sincerely wish we had something similar in the UK. It irritates me when people in the US complain about it as if it was a bad thing, or somehow evidence of wrongdoing.

If vaccines are so safe, why that? Clearly vaccines cause admitted harm.

Sometimes, no doubt, they do, but extremely rarely. Serious side effects occur perhaps once in every million vaccines given, or even less frequently than that. They are so rare they are hard to measure accurately.

Study the Vaccine Injury Table. Are you certain that other non-admitted harm is not being covered up by the CDC?

I’m pretty certain, yes. I think that the vast majority of those compensated for vaccine injury very probably were not in reality damaged by vaccines. Then again, I would like to see government support for parents of children with disabilities whatever their cause.

Can you think of any motives for the CDC performing such a cover up? I can, but let’s hear you do that. Let’s see how opened minded you are. Come on – Why would the CDC cover up vaccine injuries?

Because they know that the benefits of vaccines hugely outweigh their benefits, and a loss of public confidence in vaccines would be a public health disaster resulting in countless suffering, death and enormous expense?

That said, I see no evidence at all that the CDC has covered up any such thing.

But of course you won’t. Because you’re not. You are excessively prejudiced and closed-minded. You have made up your mind. You have stated your opinion. Nothing contradicting your stated opinion could budge you from your cemented position.

Nonsense. Everything I have seen of Orac suggests to me that if the evidence led him to conclude that vaccines are dangerous he would acknowledge it.

If Wakefield gave you a live video feed of the CDC roasting and lunching on newborn children, you’d still grovel before their throne while ad hominem attacking Wakefield et al, out your prostrated behind, right?

Since no convincing evidence of any kind has been presented by Wakefield or anyone else, your claim seems more than a little hyperbolic.

Are you positive that the dataset analyzed by Hooker contains all the data the CDC has to offer on potentially linking autism to vaccines?

What data “potentially linking autism to vaccines”? I haven’t seen any.

Are you certain that other studies have not shown the dangers of Thimerosal? There are many.

Such as? Please don’t mention the Geiers execrable studies.

Have you open-mindedly analyzed them, or did you already know your answer before you cracked them open?

You should familiarize yourself with this blog, in which Orac frequently analyzes such studies. I have seen no evidence of the prejudices you claim. Generally the studies are so poorly designed that it is clear to anyone with any understanding of the subject once pointed out.

Are you certain that the CDC has not hidden data or perhaps hidden even entire studies which potentially link autism to vaccines? Are you certain that the CDC has not avoided performing studies which potentially would demonstrate that correlation?

Could there be hidden evidence of wrongdoing that no one has ever seen? There could be, but we have to go on what evidence is available, and from what I have seen your claims are utterly groundless.

Doesn’t this unwillingly outed CDC conspirist even make you pause? Are you sure that there’s nothing deeper? Does he know more? Are others hiding results also?

It makes me pause to wonder why the CDC employed a scientist who is apparently so ignorant about epidemiology and statistics.

Once this specific data is reanalyzed and more CDC data is analyzed by the many scientists from various camps who will be doing that now that Thompson’s been outed, if Hooker’s & Thompson’s findings are verified, if other broader linkages between autism and vaccines are found with other data, if Thimerosal is dangerous after all, if MMR is dangerous after all – if they were right and you were wrong – what are your intentions? Please let us know prior. Inquiring minds would love to know.

Hooker’s findings are not going to be verified, as they are very clearly erroneous. You don’t treat case control studies as cohort studies, and you don’t use unadjusted p values for multiple subgroup analyses. His results are simply wrong.

YoDaddie,

Did you ever stop to think about how little of an anti-vaccine contingent there would be today if Thimerosal had been removed from our vaccines when originally requested/demanded, and replaced with something more benign sounding, if not actually more benign?

Are you seriously suggesting that we should decide what public health measures we employ based on the opinions of Google University graduates, even when the evidence contradicts these? What kind of a world would that be?

I’m beginning to think the converse, that removing thimerosal from vaccines was a serious mistake. It has simply given ammunition to those who are convinced that thimerosal has injured children, when overwhelming evidence tells us it has not.

Did you ever stop to think about how little of an anti-vaccine contingent there would be today if Thimerosal had been removed from our vaccines when originally requested/demanded, and replaced with something more benign sounding, if not actually more benign?

It would make no difference whatsoever. Lets see:, you knuckleheads have ranted about aluminum, squalene, formaldehyde, fetal tissue, foreign DNA, monkey viruses and on and on. If the only ingredient in a vaccine was water, you’d find a way to blame that, too.

YoDaddie,

Thimerosal was removed from Canadian vaccines several years before it was removed from the USA’s. There was no decrease in autism rates in Canada. In fact, the apparent number of children with autism in Canada continued to rise, just as it apparently did in the US in general and California in particular.

But we also know that these apparently increased numbers of children with ASD are due to increases in awareness and diagnosis of milder cases.

http://www.vox.com/2014/8/28/6078005/autism-rates-arent-actually-increasing

“Reports of higher rates of autism in recent years means that we are doing a better job of identifying people on the autism disorder spectrum, particularly those at the milder end of the spectrum, and also identifying them at an earlier age.”

It would have made no different to remove thimerosal from vaccines earlier because thimerosal does not cause autism.

Thanks for your interest Krebiozen,

The self-anointed Great Orac has clearly attracted a following of self-appointed well-educated people. I think that some of y’all actually are. Not clear from your message though.

You mention the NVICP’s driving motivation: “Too much frivolous litigation was driving drug companies away from manufacturing vaccines.”. You fail to mention that it was also the result of much non-frivolous litigation driving drug companies away from manufacturing vaccines. You mention that “It is extremely fair to those who have genuinely been damaged by vaccines.” Hummm… for some yes. Certainly. For some – kinda-sorta fair. But in general – I don’t concur. Neither does the many who have not been adequately or even compensated at all by the NVICP while being genuinely injured. Check out the payout percentages and get back to me. Please. Talk to some of the victims. Read their blogs. Their articles. Their life stories. Their resulting trials and tribulations. Maybe the Great Orac will help you with that.

Regarding “Serious side effects occur perhaps once in every million vaccines given, or even less frequently than that. They are so rare they are hard to measure accurately.” I wonder if you yourself or your child were permanently damaged in extreme life-altering ways by a vaccine – if you’d be so statistically cavalier….? Altruism is great. I’m sure that many vaccine injured families appreciate the good that vaccines do – population wide. That hardly removes their own pain and suffering though. They’d appreciate if safer vaccines had been forced upon them. Wouldn’t you in their position? If they had to do it over, surely they’d say … “Nope. We’ll skip this”. How about you Krebiozen, in their position?

You claim “Nonsense. Everything I have seen of Orac suggests to me that if the evidence led him to conclude that vaccines are dangerous he would acknowledge it.” I guess you didn’t read his above article?

Guilty . “….more than a little hyperbolic” by design.

“What data ‘potentially linking autism to vaccines’? I haven’t seen any. “ Start here: http://mercury-freedrugs.org/docs/20140329_Kern_JK_ExcelFile_TM_sHarm_ReferenceList_v33.xlsx.

“Please don’t mention the Geiers execrable studies.” Maybe vaccines cause ad hominemitis?

“You should familiarize yourself with this blog, in which Orac frequently analyzes such studies.” Thanks for the offer Krebiozen , but I have too often already. Long time. The resulting chronic nausea finally made me pipe up. You’re welcome for that.

“I have seen no evidence of the prejudices you claim.”. Really? None? Doesn’t an unwillingly outed high-level long-standing well-thought-of CDC research Ph.D. scientist even remotely smell like that to you? Remotely? Maybe your vaccines have caused Opposing Agenda Blindness? Does your UK health system have an ICD-10-like code for that? Hopefully. Hey, there’s a couple of new rows for our Vaccine Injury Table!

You say “It makes me pause to wonder why the CDC employed a scientist who is apparently so ignorant about epidemiology and statistics.” Why weren’t you saying that before? When he seemed to be playing on “your team”? For over a decade. Maybe he actually is a well-educated and skillful epidemiologist. I bet the thinks so. But obviously a dishonest one. Hell, I bet that he has even frequented this site, seeing as how it’s packed with self-anointed well-educated scientists. Their honesty TBD… I’ll be watching if/when there is a clear undeniable autism/Thimerosal linkage established.

How do you explain that Thompson feels bad about sitting on his apparent firmly-held belief that vaccines are very dangerous to African-American boys? How do you feel about that Krebiozen?

For the record : I fully support safe vaccines. Don’t skimp on the important adjective.

And again, why not just remove Thimerosal and let everyone worried relax and take their medicine? What’s so difficult with that? That’s an easy solution. Why not, Krebiozen?

his apparent firmly-held belief that vaccines are very dangerous to African-American boys?

You must have missed the part of the statement where he says

I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race.

Dear Krebiozen,

So you are beginning to think that removing Thimerosal from vaccines was a serious mistake, that it has simply given ammunition to those who are convinced that Thimerosal has injured children?

Tells me all I need to know about your morals. This is about “my side” verse “your side” and not about protecting as many children as possible. I’d respect an opinion that anything that can easily be done to increase our vaccine rates should be done. Especially something as easy as replacing Thimerosal in multi-use vaccines with something less “mercury” sounding; less toxic sounding. Yours – I can’t respect. Sounds like Disrespectful Insolence to me. Do you yourself really like the idea of putting ethyl mercury into your and your kids bloodstreams? You really do? Wouldn’t the hair on the back of your neck ease down a bit from having to worry if YOUR kid is a one-in-a-million lottery winner?

@Yo : And what do you think about what Broken link said regarding Canada ?
Besides, even in the USA thiomersal was removed more than 10 years ago from most vaccines, yet the autism rates are still high.
And lastly, you sound as if it is damn easy to find a replacement for thiomersal. Why don’t you enlighten us and assure us that this suitable replacement would be guaranteed non-toxic ?

@YoDaddie: why are you fixated on the CDC? Are you unaware that the question of whether vaccination might cause autism has been studied in many other developed countries, countries which the CDC has no influence over whatsoever? What possible influence can the CDC bring to bear on scientific research and publication in these other countries? The world does not end at the borders of the USA; science goes on – good science by good scientists.

And this vast body of independent research from all around the globe shows zero evidence for any causative relationship between vaccination and autism. There have been literally hundreds of studies with tens of millions of participants, and those studies are robust.

Even if there may be some hint of discord at the CDC regarding the interpretation of one rather small and old study, it does not negate the plethora of global research showing that vaccination does not cause autism.

@Yo – if you are so educated, please list the vaccines on the US Pediatric Vaccine Schedule that contain Thimerasol?

And I’ll give you a free pass on the Influenza vaccine – but over 50% of the current generation of flu vaccines (including such favorites as FluMist) do not contain any….

Other than that – please list the vaccines, on the current schedule, that contain that particular ingredient.

Dear Broken Link,

Did you ever stop to think that if “we are doing a better job of identifying people on the autism disorder spectrum, particularly those at the milder end of the spectrum, and also identifying them at an earlier age.” and that if Thimerosal is simultaneously removed from your vaccines, you easily could expect the rate of autism to not go down?

Think about that for a minute. Please.

Do I need to spell it out? One rate goes up, one rate goes down………

However, contrary to your belief that “Thimerosal was removed from Canadian vaccines several years” your influenza vaccine and most of your hepatitis B vaccines still are multi-dose vaccines, which contain Thimerosal as a preservative. So your article actually should prove nothing to the well-educated respectfully insolent here. Right?

At least now you have a choice of giving your infants non-Thimerosal vaccines in Canada. Yay! I bet that did increase your vaccination rates. Yay! Which sadly the Krebiozen-like-disrespectfully-insolent would not allow you to be able to do if they had it their way.

By the way – why did the USA and Canada and the UK etc. remove Thimerosal from most vaccines?

And why can’t the third-world get some of that? We really can’t afford non-Thimerosal for them, but we can for us?

From a 2012 ORAC column, Tactics & tropes : with regards to “safe vaccines”-“a variant of this is to like vaccines to cars and say that “I am not anti-car, I just want safer cars.” That’s not a good analogy. A better equivalent would be if they demanded absolute safety of cars and refused to use them unless GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, et al swear that they’ll never be injured in a car crash”

And why can’t the third-world get some of that? We really can’t afford non-Thimerosal for them, but we can for us?

I’m given to understand that there are two issues. First, refrigeration (which is always important) is even more critical for vaccines without preservatives; however, in many third world countries it is difficult to keep them properly cold for the entire supply chain. Second, single dose dispensers are relatively expensive, so for a given amount of money the agencies providing those can provide more immunizations with multi-use vials than single-use.

The latter issue could be dealt with if people were willing to provide more funding. How much can we put you down for?

“For the record : I fully support safe vaccines.”

Which vaccines are those? Are any of them on the current pediatric vaccine schedule, or recommended for adults?

If on the other hand you’re not referring to any currently existing vaccines because of a belief that they are unsafe, what would it take to convince you that they have acceptable safety?

YoDaddie, I assume from the tone of your above post that you support changing world policy on vaccines based on 1/1000000 serious adverse events? Maybe you think its better to have no vaccines and a world rife with VPDs rather than risk that 1/1000000 event? After all, nobody was ever harmed by VPDs were they? The whole idea that we need vaccines is just an invention of the CDC isn’t it? Including the secret branches of the CDC in the UK, France, Russia…….the rest of the world. Oh, I’m sorry, the rest of the world doesn’t really exist does it? We’re certainly not capable of wiping our arse without checking with America first.

Oh, and how many of the vaccines on your current schedule still contain thimerosal?

Oh, and another thing. I’m an engineer, the opinions on engineering matters of none engineers I come across on a daily basis are frequently worthless. So when I see someone with no medical or statistical training accusing someone who has both of lying (essentially the whole ethos of the anti-vaccine movement) …..well, in my part of the UK we say “It boils my piss”.

Did you ever stop to think about how little of an anti-vaccine contingent there would be today if Thimerosal had been removed from our vaccines when originally requested/demanded, and replaced with something more benign sounding, if not actually more benign?

YoDaddie, your evidence that thimerosal is anything other than benign at exposure levels achievable as a consequence of routine childhood vaccination would be… what, exactly? Be specific.

YoDaddy,

HepB is not given at birth in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. Last time I had a flu shot is was a single dose, and didn’t contain thimerosal. Indeed, most don’t

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/ccdr-rmtc/13vol39/acs-dcc-4/index-eng.php

Canada and the UK, and eventually the US removed thimerosal as a precaution. After extensive studies were performed, we can now say conclusively that thimerosal does not cause autism, nor any other unwanted neurological outcomes. It could be added back in, in my view. In the third world, they need thimerosal because it preserves multi-use ampoules, and removes the need for refrigeration. This allows more children to receive vaccines.

Dear LouVeha

Regarding “…you sound as if it is damn easy to find a replacement for thiomersal. Why don’t you enlighten us and assure us that this suitable replacement would be guaranteed non-toxic?”

How about switching to single-use non-preserved vaccines? That would be worth it. I’d pay more for my kids. Lots more. If I could get them non-Thimerosal flu vaccines I’d pay a lot more. You wouldn’t?

But – if it’s so impossible to find alternatives – why has Thimerosal been removed from most first-world vaccines? Can’t be that hard since we did it, right? You say “Besides, even in the USA Thimerosal was removed more than 10 years ago from most vaccines”, so you do get this, right?

Hummm… you want me to “… assure us that this suitable replacement would be guaranteed non-toxic”. Are you suggesting that the replacement preservatives now in use are not non-toxic? Is there something that you know? Careful – you’re about to start a whole new anti-vaccine front.

As a parent and layperson I have to say that the anti-vaxxers have really wasted an asset. They had an ally at the CDC who took some of their ideas seriously and was willing to have a dialogue. That, in and of itself, would have been a huge credibility gain for them — a PR coup. Fence-sitters would have taken notice. Even I would have taken them a little more seriously. By linking Thompson with that embarrassment of a paper and then topping it off with the ludicrous and reprehensible Wakefield/Tuskeegee video they’ve totally ruined what they had. The guy may as well have “I’m With Stupid” tattooed on his forehead at this point. I thought Wakefield would have been smart enough to realize that, but I guess I gave him too much credit. Obviously, he’s less interested in swaying the general public than in keeping the faithful in an open-walletted frenzy.

The self-anointed Great Orac has clearly attracted a following of self-appointed well-educated people.

It’s not often that one hears someone stake a claim to being a self-appointed ill-educated person.

On everyone’s favorite blog, Age of Autism, Sharyl Atkinson has posted where she refers to William Thompson as a “CDC epidemiologist.” Is Thompson an epidemiologist? I thought is Ph.D. was in psychology?

Dear novalox,

Have I ever heard of the saying “the dose is the poison?”

Have you ever summed up the combined amount of Thimerosal vaccine-compliant children used to get? How much they still get in third-world countries? Add in mercury amalgams and mercury pollution and food with mercury – it’s nontrivial.

What do you think about this dear novalox?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtFsy0rQsak

Thanks for your feedback dear novalox.

TBruce @26, responding to the troll: If the only ingredient in a vaccine was water, you’d find a way to blame that, too.

I suspect you’re right, but let’s not give homeopaths any ideas here.

Is Thompson an epidemiologist?

He’s whatever the anti-vax cranks need him to be, so this week, he’s an epidemiologist. Trivial details such as facts are of no importance to conspiracy theorists like Atkisson.

Dear Lawrence,

A moron? Perhaps. My apparently inadequately conveyed point was that multi-use vaccines ought not to still have Thimerosal. Being able to say “All US vaccines are Thimerosal free” would increase vaccine rates. That’s your goal, right? You want your kids protected from other non-vaccinated kids, right?

Paying more for single-use or more for multi-use alternatively-preserved vaccines would be worth it in my estimation. That was my intended point. That doesn’t seem moronic to me. Hopefully not to you either.

yodaddie, 3 vaccines instead of 1 would still mean being spiked with a needle 3 times. Regardless of the relative safety of the methods, these aren’t sugar-coated pills. When I was little I didn’t like being vaccinated and none of the other kids in school liked it either.
Isn’t that a good reason to give the triple vaccine instead of three monovalents?

@ Brian Deer: Brian Hooker still has an open claim (filed 12 years ago) on behalf of his autistic child before the Vaccine Court for “vaccine-related-autism”. As far as I know, the case is still open. All the bullsh!t studies published about the supposed link between MMR vaccines/ vaccines which containThimerosal and the onset of autism, have been used by litigants and have failed. The authors of those studies (Mark Geier, Arthur Krigsman and others) who have testified in the Vaccine Court as “expert witnesses” have been found to be not credible. But, you know about them, don’t you? 🙂

(Scroll down to see Krigsman’s opinion that all children diagnosed with ASDs…even those who have no symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders):

http://briandeer.com/wakefield/cedillo-krigsman.htm

Yo, still hasn’t answered questions posed to him/her, about the removal of Thimerosal from all childhood vaccines, more than a decade ago. And, single dose vaccine vials/preloaded single dose vaccines, still are refrigerated…according to supply chain directives:

http://www.who.int/immunization/sage/meetings/2014/april/3_GAVI_immunization_supply_chain_strategy.pdf

@Yo – you still seem to not get the fact that there aren’t any vaccines on the US Pediatric Schedule that still have Thimerosal in them…..kids and pregnant women all get the thimerosal-free versions anyway & more than 50% of the flu vaccines in this country don’t have the ingredient anyway for everyone else.

You’re position might have made sense about 15 years ago – but today, well, you’re a bit out of date (and yes, a moron).

@Yo – the point I made is that those multi-vial vaccines here in the US don’t use it anymore – so your point is moo…..moo, because no one cares what a cow says.

Dear Julian,

Multi-use vaccines are for multiple-person use, not multi-vaccines per container. So a 10-dose bottle on a vaccine solution is given to 10 different people. Get it? The needles are scrapped each time. So no worries there.

@YoDaddie:

My apparently inadequately conveyed point was that multi-use vaccines ought not to still have Thimerosal.

And what would you use to ensure that the multi-dose vials remain free of infection?

Being able to say “All US vaccines are Thimerosal free” would increase vaccine rates.

All I can say is, you are very, very ignorant. Thimerosal was removed. Did that shut the anti-vaxxers up? Nope. They started moaning about the adjuvants, “too many too soon” and anything they could.
This has nothing to do with thimerosal. It’s about disliking something and then finding a reason to justify that dislike. As an old slavic saying goes, “A man who wishes to beat a dog will always find a stick.”

@Yo – and your point is what, exactly? Because the preservative you are complaining about, isn’t used in this country anymore, except in a very small number of flu vaccines (not given to children or pregnant women).

YoDaddie,

You fail to mention that it was also the result of much non-frivolous litigation driving drug companies away from manufacturing vaccines.

Do you have any evidence for this? If vaccines caused all the problems the antivaccine movement claims, this would show up in the science, and it simply doesn’t.

But in general – I don’t concur. Neither does the many who have not been adequately or even compensated at all by the NVICP while being genuinely injured. Check out the payout percentages and get back to me. Please.

Low payout percentages support my suggestion that many claims of vaccine damage are unfounded, don’t they?

Talk to some of the victims. Read their blogs. Their articles. Their life stories. Their resulting trials and tribulations.

I have read plenty of stories. I can understand why some parents blame vaccines for a variety of problems they see in their children, it’s heartbreaking, but I think the vast majority are mistaken. Blaming the wrong culprit for their problems isn’t going to help them.

Regarding “Serious side effects occur perhaps once in every million vaccines given, or even less frequently than that. They are so rare they are hard to measure accurately.” I wonder if you yourself or your child were permanently damaged in extreme life-altering ways by a vaccine – if you’d be so statistically cavalier….?

How is stating what a large body of high quality evidence tells us is true, “cavalier”? I feel for the parents of children with neurodevelopmental problems. Sympathy and empathy does not mean I have to accept their claims uncritically.

Altruism is great. I’m sure that many vaccine injured families appreciate the good that vaccines do – population wide. That hardly removes their own pain and suffering though.

I don’t know if you are talking about the vaccine injuries that have been compensated by the NVICP here, or those who claim to be vaccine injured but whose claims are not supported by the evidence.

They’d appreciate if safer vaccines had been forced upon them. Wouldn’t you in their position? If they had to do it over, surely they’d say … “Nope. We’ll skip this”. How about you Krebiozen, in their position?

I’m not sure what you are arguing here. We don’t know which people are going to react badly to a vaccine, so the only way of avoiding vaccine injury completely is not to give any vaccines at all. The problem with that is we would go back to the good old days of infectious diseases with all the misery and death they would bring.

You claim “Nonsense. Everything I have seen of Orac suggests to me that if the evidence led him to conclude that vaccines are dangerous he would acknowledge it.” I guess you didn’t read his above article?

The article tearing apart an utterly unreliable study? Where does it say that he wouldn’t accept good evidence?

“What data ‘potentially linking autism to vaccines’? I haven’t seen any. “ Start here: http://mercury-freedrugs.org/docs/20140329_Kern_JK_ExcelFile_TM_sHarm_ReferenceList_v33.xlsx.

I have read reams of this stuff and spent hours checking out references, and the conclusion I have come to is that there is no evidence for thimerosal in vaccines causing neurological developmental problems. The amount in vaccines is a tiny fraction (several orders of magnitude) of the doses that cause symptoms in animals. The highest concentrations of mercury seen in babies and animals after vaccination with a TCV are a fraction of the concentration that affects brain and other cells in cultures. The mercury claims are just bogus.

“Please don’t mention the Geiers execrable studies.” Maybe vaccines cause ad hominemitis?

You don’t appear to understand what ad hominem means. I referred to their studies as execrable, not them personally. These are the people who decided that chemically castrating autistic boys was a good idea based on how mercury binds to testosterone at high temperatures.

“You should familiarize yourself with this blog, in which Orac frequently analyzes such studies.” Thanks for the offer Krebiozen , but I have too often already. Long time. The resulting chronic nausea finally made me pipe up. You’re welcome for that.

It’s a shame none of the science appears to have sunk in.

“I have seen no evidence of the prejudices you claim.”. Really? None? Doesn’t an unwillingly outed high-level long-standing well-thought-of CDC research Ph.D. scientist even remotely smell like that to you? Remotely?

I’m very familiar with the claims that Thompson has made, I understand the study design, and I know that what Hooker has done is not valid. It is guaranteed to give the wrong results. What he said about mercury and tics is invalid too. In multiple subgroup analyses you will see some that are statistically significant, around 1 in 20 will be significant at the 95% confidence limits. That’s what we see in the study that found an increased incidence of tics (and increased IQ) in boys exposed to more mercury. I say that both are due to chance, as 19 of the 378 subgroup analyses they did gave statistically significant results, 1 in 20, exactly as we would expect from chance alone.

Do I smell something here? Yes, I smell someone with an agenda exploiting people’s scientific ignorance.

Maybe your vaccines have caused Opposing Agenda Blindness? Does your UK health system have an ICD-10-like code for that? Hopefully. Hey, there’s a couple of new rows for our Vaccine Injury Table!

Aren’t you hilarious? I don’t have any agenda. I don’t work for a drug company, or have anything to do with vaccines. I do have a background in science, and I can see obvious BS when I see it. That’s all.

You say “It makes me pause to wonder why the CDC employed a scientist who is apparently so ignorant about epidemiology and statistics.” Why weren’t you saying that before? When he seemed to be playing on “your team”? For over a decade.

Because he didn’t come out with some nonsense that anyone with some understanding of epidemiology and statistics is unfounded then. I don’t know what has happened to him to make him come out with this stuff, but it’s clearly wrong.

Maybe he actually is a well-educated and skillful epidemiologist. I bet the thinks so. But obviously a dishonest one.

I see no evidence of dishonesty. I think he is honestly mistaken.

Hell, I bet that he has even frequented this site, seeing as how it’s packed with self-anointed well-educated scientists.

Self-anointed? I think you will find that many of us here are professionals, with real qualifications and experience in science.

Their honesty TBD… I’ll be watching if/when there is a clear undeniable autism/Thimerosal linkage established.

That simply isn’t ever going to happen. There is a gulf of orders of magnitude between the amount of mercury in vaccines and the amount that could cause the problems ascribed to it. Look at the Faroes study or the ones in the Seychelles: pregnant women exposed daily to lots of methylmercury, and no sign of any developmental problems in their children except at amounts far greater than there ever was in any vaccines.

How do you explain that Thompson feels bad about sitting on his apparent firmly-held belief that vaccines are very dangerous to African-American boys? How do you feel about that Krebiozen?

I feel sorry for him because I think he is mistaken. I think the association is probably due to the insistence on vaccination in the autism early intervention programs.

For the record : I fully support safe vaccines. Don’t skimp on the important adjective.

I’m glad to hear it, but I suspect you don’t believe the vaccines on the current schedule are safe.

And again, why not just remove Thimerosal and let everyone worried relax and take their medicine? What’s so difficult with that? That’s an easy solution. Why not, Krebiozen?

Just because people are afraid of mercury? The next thing they will want the formaldehyde removed, then the other scary-sounding ingredients. You can’t make decisions like that based on public hysteria.

YoDaddie,

What do you think about this dear novalox?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtFsy0rQsak Thanks for your feedback dear novalox.

I can’t answer for novalox, but this is something I know a little bit about.

The video you linked to found that exposure to 30 micromolar mercury, i.e. 6,000 micrograms per liter, adversely affects nail neurones in vitro. How does this compare to the levels seen in children after vaccination with a TCV? Maximal mean blood concentrations of ethylmercury in children post vaccination were 5.7 µg/L the day after vaccination, dropping to baseline levels after 30 days.

Why would anyone be concerned about mercury levels over 1,000 times higher than the highest blood levels seen in children after vaccination, affecting snail neurones in a petri dish?

Yo is obviously a troll. I admit my patience is thin today (still really pissed about Thompson going off the deep end) but his inane ramblings are pissing me off. Glad it is a holiday weekend and wish all the best. Krebiozen better you than me mate and I wish you luck with your task of educating the troll.

@yo

How quaint, citiation by youtube.

Krebiozen answered most of the objections to the video that I seen, but I’ll add one more.

Why are you comparing elemental mercury to ethylmercury? Do you even look at the question posed to you?

Kiiri,
It was exactly this mercury nonsense that got me involved in the whole vaccine business several years ago, so I have the figures engraved on my brain, having had to repeat them over and over and over again.

Why can’t people like YoDaddie understand that something being poisonous at one dose doesn’t mean it’s poisonous at 1,000th of that dose? If I complained that some quack CAMster is recommending people take 2,000 IU vitamin D every day, and point to someone getting poisoned by a dose of 2 million IU of vitamin D as evidence this is dangerous, wouldn’t they pull me up on that? Half a teaspoonful of salt makes food taste better and provides essential nutrients, 500 teaspoonfuls will kill several people. It isn’t rocket surgery.

That’s odd. A comment went into moderation for no apparent reason. Just a rant asking why some people just don’t get the dose=poison thing in regard to thimerosal.

You fail to mention that it was also the result of much non-frivolous litigation driving drug companies away from manufacturing vaccines.

Name the successful cases. It’s not really that hard.

By the way – why did the USA and Canada and the UK etc. remove Thimerosal from most vaccines?

Not because of any specific concerns related to the use of thimerosal as a preservative in vacine formulations. The 1997 FDA Modernization act required the FDA to identify and review all biological products which contained mercury compounds, Vaccines incorporating thimerosal preservatives were just one of the products that fell within this directive.

On review it appeared that it might rarely be possible, under the current recomended vaccine schedule, for individuals to exceed exposure limits set for methyl mercury as a result of routine vacination. As a precaution the FDA directed the removal of thimerosal (which metabolizes to produce ethyl–not methyl–mercury) from vaccine formulatons until further studies could be conducted.

Those studies have since been conducted (google, for example, Pichchiero and Burbacher) and demonstrate that ethyl mercury’s is far less toxic than, far more quickly eliminated than, and does accumulate as does, methyl mercury that it is completely inappropriate to apply exposure limits established for methyl mercury to ethyl mercury.

My apparently inadequately conveyed point was that multi-use vaccines ought not to still have Thimerosal

Why not, given that there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that thimerosal, at exposure levels achievable by routine vaccination, engenders risk?

YoDaddie: “My apparently inadequately conveyed point was that multi-use vaccines ought not to still have Thimerosal.”

The MMR has never ever contained thimerosal in its over forty year history. It comes as dry powder that is reconstituted with sterile water and must be used within eight hours.

By the way, to echo Lawrence: what vaccine in the present American schedule is only available with thimerosal? Do not mention influenza because half do not have thimerosal.

These are the people who decided that chemically castrating autistic boys was a good idea based on how mercury binds to testosterone at high temperatures.

If I recall correctly, it binds at high temperatures in benzene>/i>.

Why would anyone be concerned about mercury levels over 1,000 times higher than the highest blood levels seen in children after vaccination, affecting snail neurones in a petri dish?

I’m guessing it’s because the only argument they’ve got to offer takes the form “Oooo…mercury! Scary stuff!”

ruthq: **standing ovation**
“Obviously, [Wakefield]’s less interested in swaying the general public than in keeping the faithful in an open-walletted frenzy.”

As Orac said, Wakefield betrayed Hooker, and scotched Hooker’s chances of getting good pub, but you’ve added the logical ‘why.’

I don’t know the details of this sordid history as well as other folks here, so I’ll ask if the following summary in story form gets the broad strokes right:

** Wakefield is a scam artist who got into this for money. Whatever concern he may have for autistic kids and their families is dwarfed by his concern for Andrew Wakefield. His scam offered a group of traumatized people the opportunity to form a new ‘religion’ to cope with their emotional pains. People like Hooker and McCarthy are sincere and mean well, but they have grasped onto fairy tales as reality is too hard for them to deal with. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for everyone else), they can’t make their ‘case’ without going back to Wakefield, as his ‘study’ is the best ‘evidence’ they have or will ever get. Thus, they constantly discredit themselves, limiting their effectiveness with reasonable people, and confining the anti-vax ‘movement’ to what amounts to a cult. Hooker saw Thompson’s ‘revelations’ as the cult’s big chance to get some non-Wakefield-based legitimacy. But after 10 months of playing Thompson, he realized Thompson couldn’t give him what he needed — there really was nothing there to support the central thesis of ‘vaccines cause autism.’ So Hooker decided the time was right to run with the thin material he had to get the max out of it. (Unless he’s a total idiot, he wouldn’t have betrayed Thompson if he thought Thompson had anything more to give him.) So Hooker’s gambit was tactical, an attempt to get a forward push on innuendo that would still leave positive gain after the inevitable pushback exemplified by Orac’s pefectly observed, “Brian Hooker proves Andrew Wakefield wrong about vaccines and autism” and the discovery that Thompson’s position is actually “I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race.” But even that small hope was torpedoed by Wakefield being who Wakefield will always be: a self-serving suck-hole of credibility. And so it always will be. **

If my lay person’s take on the story has any merit, this strikes me as a big ‘win’ for real doctors and for families at risk for measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases. Desperate for a ‘whistleblower’ the anti-vaxers hyped-up a guy who had only a nano-whistle at best, and was too consumptive to push much of a blow through it besides. What teeny-weeny-tiny-temporary media boost they might get out of this (e.g. the horrible CNN article that seems to have all the facts right, but hangs them on the wrong peg, with all the important stuff below-the-fold) has cost them the chance that anyone with legitimate credentials in epidemiology or any kind of inside dope on existing studies will ever trust them or pass on information to them again. Whatever happens to William Thompson from here, I can only imagine that his path will rise to the top of, “don’t EVER go there” for members of the medical research profession.

What do y’all think of this interpretation? (There’s a lot of guess-work involved, obviously…) Does it make sense? Is it on the right track? Do you have alternate hypotheses?

“It isn’t rocket surgery.” – Kreblozen

**applause**

Nice! That made my day!
May the meme conquer the Interwebs!

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