Antivaccine nonsense Autism Bad science Medicine Pseudoscience Skepticism/critical thinking

Brian Hooker’s antivaccine pseudoscience has risen from the dead to threaten children again

Remember Brian Hooker’s pseudoscience-laden “study” linking the MMR vaccine with autism in African-American boys? It’s back from the dead! Even more hilariously, it’ was published in that rag of a “journal” for all things right wing conspiracy pseudoscience, the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

So the puppies are taking up more of my time than I thought (which is why there was no post yesterday), so much so that when people started sending me a “new” (scare quotes intentional, as you will see) claiming to show that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is associated with autism in African-American boys, I was going to ignore it. Why? Simple, the study wasn’t new at all, but rather yet another zombie resurrection of a crappy, previously retracted antivaccine study, this time by Brian Hooker. No, it’s no better than it was when it was first published in its original form, and you’ll laugh out loud when I tell you where it was published.

Before I do, I feel obligated to provide some background for those new to the conspiracy theory that spawned this paper. Those familiar with these events can skim and skip ahead. I will briefly point out, however, that the central premise of the conspiracy theory, which is that the CDC supposedly/allegedly “covered up” data showing that vaccines cause autism. In this case, it was supposedly a finding in a 2004 study published by its scientists that found that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine was associated with a significantly elevated risk of autism in African-American boys (but only African-American boys). That revelation was relayed by the “CDC whistleblower” scientists named William Thompson to the parent of an autistic child (the aforementioned Brian Hooker, whose story about the relationship between vaccination and his son’s first symptoms of autism has…evolved). Hooker “reanalyzed” the data and reported it to the world. This particular conspiracy theory thus, in the minds of antivaccine cranks, confirmed what I like to call the central conspiracy theory of antivaccine movement, namely that the CDC “knows” that “vaccines cause autism” and all sorts of other health issues but is “covering it up” because, well…it’s never really clear why. (It’s a slave to big pharma or its leaders want to create more autistic children, I suppose.)

It’s yet another of a long line of antivaccine conspiracy theories, the first of which I took notice of being the “Simpsonwood” conspiracy theory cooked up by antivaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in which CDC scientists supposedly “covered up” data showing that the thimerosal preservative that used to be used in several childhood vaccines caused autism. (Are you beginning to see a recurring theme here?)

The “CDC Whistleblower” antivaccine conspiracy theory and Brian Hooker’s “reanalysis”

So let’s dive into the conspiracy theory. You remember Brian Hooker, don’t you? He’s the biochemical engineer turned incompetent epidemiologist and statistician who “discovered” the “CDC Whistleblower” four years ago and thus helped launch the biggest antivaccine conspiracy theory that I can recall, which led discredited former physician and scientist Andrew Wakefield to team up with a producer of bad medical TV, Del Bigtree (The Doctors), to produce an antivaccine propaganda film (VAXXED: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe) so outrageously over-the-top and obvious that Leni Reifenstahl, were she still alive, would cry, “Das ist enug!” or even “Zu viel!” (I know I use that joke a lot, but it’s just too damned appropriate.)

While it was fascinating to observe the birth of this conspiracy theory in August 2014 and watch as it grew and metastasized, unfortunately, like so many conspiracy theories, the “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory has proven resistant, if not impervious, to facts, science, reason, and reality, and the original version of Hooker’s paper was part of this. Now that it’s back, I feel rather as though I’m living a version of the cliché of the aging and tired Old West gunfighter reluctantly strapping on his six shooter one last time to face down a threat. Duty calls, I guess.

So what are we dealing with? The “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory that birthed Brian Hooker’s awful “research” began when, for whatever reason, a CDC scientist named William Thompson struck up a conversation with Brian Hooker and spoke to him multiple times on the telephone, during which time he complained about a number of things at the CDC. Most importantly, for purposes of the conspiracy theory, the complained about a specific 2004 study for which he was co-investigator and co-author with another CDC scientist, Frank DeStefano. Basically, there was an anomalous result in one subgroup suggesting a correlation between MMR and autism that was almost certainly spurious (more on that later). Thompson, however, thought that the result had been deemphasized. Unfortunately for Thompson, he was far too trusting, as Hooker recorded every call in which he vented his complaints about DeStefano and multiple other CDC scientists and employees. Hooker in turn was far too trusting as well in that he revealed the existence of the recorded phone calls to Andrew Wakefield, who wasted little time publicizing them with an inflammatory video comparing the “covered up result” in the paper to the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. (The subgroup in question was African-American boys.) Based on Thompson’s telling Hooker how to access the data set used for DeStefano et al, Hooker did his own incredibly incompetent “reanalysis” of the data and published it in Translational Neurodegeneration. So bad was it that it was ultimately retracted (here’s the journal’s retraction notice), although, for whatever reason, the full version can still be found on the Translational Neurodegeneration. (Apparently “retracted” doesn’t quite mean “retracted” to the editors of this journal.)

Why Thompson reached out to Hooker is unclear. Reading Kevin Barry’s book publishing what are represented as as transcripts of what are clearly four cherry-picked phone calls out of of thirty, I got the impression that Thompson was aggrieved with the leadership of the CDC in general and DeStefano in particular. In any event, in his conversations with Barry Thompson misinterpreted studies, including one of his own, and admitted that the only reason he was staying in his branch of the CDC was so that he could funnel information to Hooker. As I characterized it at the time, Thompson’s words were the words of a very angry man who had clearly been nursing a grudge against his former colleagues since at least 2003. As part of that “funneling” of information to Hooker, Thompson apparently told him how to get access to the dataset for the DeStefano et al paper, even though the dataset could be publicly accessed by request.

Some of the claims that developed as the retelling of the conspiracy theory went on got quite ludicrous after Thompson lawyered up and issued a statement, after which he went completely silent publicly and has remained so for over four years now. In the statement, noted that Hooker had recorded his telephone conversations without permission. He also “apologized” for leaving out “statistically significant information” in DeStefano et al, casting his “revelations” as “scientific disagreement” while insinuating a subtext of unethical behavior by his co-authors. Meanwhile, he provided documents to an antivaccine-sympathetic legislator, Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), whom I once described as Dan Burton’s successor for the title of the biggest antivaccine loon in the US Congress.

Now here’s the hilarious thing. Science and autism advocate Matt Carey got a hold of the actual “CDC whistleblower” document dump, and he did it in the simplest way you can imagine. He just asked Rep. Posey’s office, and someone actually gave him an electronic copy of the roughly 1,000 pages that Thompson had provided Posey (which was not, as some antivaxers claimed, 100,000 pages). I, too, took a look. There were no “garbage cans full of documents” that Thompson had described as the fate of a lot of the study documents and no evidence of any data being deleted in any way that was inappropriate or not according to CDC guidelines. There were no changes in the study protocol after data collection began, another charge that, if true, could have indicated scientific misconduct. It was all basically a big nothingburger. Yet, this conspiracy theory, like Pizzagate, refuses to die and, like Pizzagate, continues to cause harm.

So now that you have this background, let’s take a look at the study.

Brian Hooker resurrects his pseudoscience in the bottomest of bottom-feeding journals

I learned of the republication of this “reanalysis” through a link sent to me by readers. It’s an article from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s antivaccine group Children’s Health Defense:

After four long years, CHD Board Member, Dr. Brian Hooker‘s reanalysis of the CDC’s MMR-autism data from the original DeStefano et al. 2004 Pediatrics paper has been republished in the Winter 2018 Edition of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. The data, when properly analyzed, using the CDC’s own study protocol, show a strong, statistically significant relationship between the timing of the first MMR vaccine and autism, specifically in African American males. In addition, a relationship also exists in the timing of the MMR vaccine and those individuals who were diagnosed with autism without mental retardation. These relationships call into question the conclusion of the original DeStefano et al. 2004 paper which dismissed a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism.

First, I was amused to see that Hooker is on the board of RFK Jr.’s antivaccine crank organization. Second, however, I laughed uproariously when I saw the journal in which Hooker had republished it, thinking that there is no more appropriate journal in existence in which to publish Hooker’s pseudoscience. The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (abbreviated JPANDS) is the house organ disguised as a journal of the Association of American Physicians and Scientists (AAPS). You might have heard of AAPS a couple of years ago when Tom Price was nominated for Secretary of Health and Human Services, because Price is a member. There, in JPANDS, sits Hooker’s “reanalyzed reanalysis.

The AAPS is, basically, a far right wing doctors’ organization masquerading as a medical professional society, with a world view that rejects nearly all restrictions on physicians’ practice of medicine, purportedly for the good of the patient. Other prominent features of the organization are its support of private practice and dislike of government involvement in medicine, either financially or regulatory. Distinguishing it most of all, however, is its embrace of an Ayn Rand-style view of doctors as supermen and women whose unfettered judgment results in what’s best for patients and medicine. To the AAPS, doctors are special and “outside of the herd.” Unfortunately, as I described before 12 years ago, AAPS doctors are so far “outside the herd” that the organization promotes dangerous medical quackery, such as antivaccine pseudoscience blaming vaccines for autism, including a view that is extreme even among antivaccine activists, namely that the “shaken baby syndrome” is a “misdiagnosis” for vaccine injury; its HIV/AIDS denialism; its blaming immigrants for crime and disease; its promotion of the pseudoscience claiming that abortion causes breast cancer using some of the most execrable “science” ever; its rejection of evidence-based guidelines as an unacceptable affront on the godlike autonomy of physicians; or the way the AAPS rejects even the concept of a scientific consensus about anything. Let’s just put it this way. The AAPS has featured publications by antivaccine mercury militia “scientists” Mark and David Geier and, as of two years ago (the last time I checked) still promoting antivaccine pseudoscience.

As you can see, JPANDS is the perfect journal for Hooker’s republication, which is why I laughed so hard at him for having been reduced to publishing in such an ideologically fringe pseudoscientific journal. They deserve each other, particularly given what Hooker once said about his “reanalysis”:

So I reanalyzed the dataset using what is a very, very simple statistical technique. I think that in statistics simplicity is elegance. And I’m not really that smart; so I like to do simple, easy things rather than much more intellectually challenging things. So I did the simplest, most straightforward analysis, which is a Chi Squared analysis…

Here’s a hint: In statistics, the simplest analysis is often not the correct analysis, and, boy, was this the case for Hooker’s reanalysis of the DeStefano et al dataset! He didn’t control for simple confounders. He did a crappy statistical analysis. He botched the analysis in pretty much every way possible. What does one expect, though? Hooker is a biochemical engineer who thinks he’s an epidemiologist and statistician. (Yep, he’s the sole author on this paper.)

Let me summarize what was wrong with the original study and then we’ll take a look at the new study to see if Hooker’s learned anything. First, one has to go back to Destefano et al 2004, which was a case-control study in which 624 case children were identified from multiple sources and matched to 1,824 control children on age, gender, and school. The problem was that Hooker took that same dataset and analyzed it as cohort study. I discussed this in detail when the paper first came out. (Let’s just put it this way. Analyzing a dataset collected for one study model according to a different study model is highly problematic.) He also did a number of subset analyses without proper controls and used a statistical method prone to false positives. That doesn’t even count all th times Hooker referenced gross antivaccine pseudoscience in the introduction and discussion, papers such as those by Mark Geier and even Andrew Wakefield.

One thing I noticed right away looking at the JPANDS paper is that the description of the methods is more vague. The original Translational Neurodegeneration paper, for all its horrific scientific faults, at least described the populations in much more detail, including how the population and demographic data were examined and more about the statistical analysis. I did notice one thing. Hooker apparently didn’t analyze the case control data as a cohort study, which, I guess, is an improvement. Who knows? If there’s a statistician out there who can tell me how Hooker analyzed this data based on the JPANDS paper’s methods sections, I’ll be surprised. He throws the term “logistic regression analysis” about but doesn’t really make it clear what variables he used and what confounders he tried to control for.

Before I go on, let me just say that there was no other subgroup in which Hooker found a correlation between MMR vaccination and autism. As I like to say, once again, he proved Andrew Wakefield wrong, failing to find a relationship between MMR and autism for the vast majority of children. No matter how much he tortured the data, he still couldn’t find a statistically significant relationship, other than in one small subgroup.

As for the analysis, unsurprisingly Hooker finds what he describes as a statistically significant correlation between MMR vaccination and autism diagnosis, but it depends on age of first MMR vaccination. For instance, for receipt of first MMR dose at 18 months or earlier, there is no statistically significant relationship. At 24 months, there is a weakly statistically significant (p=0.03) relationship with an odds ratio of 1.82. However, there were only 23 cases, which is a small number for a case-control study like this. At 36 months, the odds ratio was 3.86, but this is based on only 7 cases. You can see the problem with this. It’s the same problem that Hooker had with his previous result and the same reason that DeStefano et al didn’t think the correlation was real; the numbers are so small that this is almost certainly a spurious result, particularly given that it wasn’t seen in any other subgroup and there is no biologically plausible mechanism why MMR would increase the risk of autism in only African-American males who received the MMR after 24 months.

As Reuben over at The Poxes Blog put it:

The nail in the coffin for the Hooker paper is that autism is usually diagnosed by the time a child is three years old. There was no increased risk at 18 months, higher but not by a whole lot at 24, and then the three-fold increase at 36 months. Gee, was it the MMR vaccine, mister? No, the effect is being modified by age. It’s as if I asked you if your shoe size was bigger at 36 months because you drank milk vs because you were 36 months. It’s age. It’s the way that autism is diagnosed. You’re going to have more children diagnosed as autistic at 36 months than you will at 18 months or at 24 months.

Hooker claims to have corrected for this, but he’s demonstrated his incompetence, and the fact that he got a similar result suggests to me that he failed.

Ironically, Hooker’s result only occurs when he expands the number of children by including children for whom there was no Georgia birth certificate. The reason is that the original DeStefano study analyzed children with birth certificates because that allowed the inclusion of confounders. Basically, in DeStefano et al, vaccination data were abstracted from immunization forms required for school entry, and records of children who were born in Georgia were linked to Georgia birth certificates for information on maternal and birth factors. The original correlation disappeared when the analysis was carried out only on children with birth certificates. Why? Because confounders could be properly considered for these children.

That’s why I found this paragraph in the Results section so telling:

Unlike the analysis by DeStefano et al, the first analysis in this study treated age of first MMR vaccination as a continues independent variable reported in years of age. Also, unlike the original DeStefano et al analysis, in this study the presence of autism diagnoses was evaluated without using covariates. Cases were matched to controls based on birth year and schools attended.

In other words, it sounds as though Hooker, faced with annoying potential corrections for confounders (covariates), simply dispensed with correcting for them in his reanalysis. His work is, as is the case for so many antivaccine studies, a zombie study that keeps returning from the dead, although this time it returned in the clown suit that is JPANDS.

The bottom line

Basically, Hooker is a biochemical engineer who’s convinced himself that vaccines cause autism and has further convinced himself that he’s competent at epidemiology and statistics. I’ve said it before on numerous occasions: If you’re going to do an epidemiological study, unless you’re an epidemiologist you need a competent epidemiologist collaborating with you as co-investigator. Even if you are an epidemiologist, you need a competent statistician to work with you from the very beginning to design the study. If you don’t, you’re likely to produce crap. Hooker did neither, and produced crap.

I’ll give Hooker minimal credit. He did apparently realize that analyzing case control data as a cohort study was so awful that even JPANDS might not have bought it. So he tried to switch his methodology. He still ended up proving why biochemical engineers should not try to do sophisticated epidemiology and statistics without skilled epidemiologists and statisticians.

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]

112 replies on “Brian Hooker’s antivaccine pseudoscience has risen from the dead to threaten children again”

Hooker’s zombie-fied nonsense will never get retracted given that the executive director of AAPS is a quack anti-vax physician. Why did it take Hooker 4 years to get it over to this quack journal? Hooker’s only real “correction” was to realize his previously retracted “research” could only find a home in a quack journal without real peer review.

My guess is that Hooker submitted it to a bunch more journals and got rejected every time until finally someone suggested, “Hey, why don’t you submit it to JPANDS? They’re down with the idea that vaccines cause autism and are against school vaccine mandates.” Still, even that shouldn’t have taken more than a couple of years; that is, unless Hooker was really, really persistent in trying to peddle his paper to a “respectable” journal (which Translational Neurodegeneration was, albeit barely).

Interestingly, I tried to find out from the JPANDS website who its editor is now. I’ve failed thus far. I assume it’s still Dr. Lawrence Huntoon, but don’t know for sure.

It might also have taken Hooker a while to make the changes he did make. He does seems to have tried to address the criticism, if not very successfully.

And of course, in the middle were other things, like Vaxxed, his case being dismissed by NVICP and his request for expenses being denied.

Anti-vaccine kOOks are boring, repetitive little OCD devils, aren’t they?
When are they going to come up with new delusions?

I have personally experienced this. The third time the fire alarm went off in the space of two hours the Boss wanders out to us all standing in the parking lot and says “at least it’s not raining”. At which point it started raining.

@ Reality:

They actually have been on to a new thing:
in the era of Me Too, they say mothers should be believed when they talk about vaccine injury WITHOUT QUESTION.
Of course, they’ve already compared their dismissal by most SB people as similar to racism.
Ladies, Rosa Parks you ain’t.

Yep. It never seems to occur to them that there’s a difference between relating what happened and drawing a scientific inference from what happened. Basically, they’re co-opting the #metoo movement to shield themselves from criticism for their spreading pseudoscience.

It’s not the only way they’ve presented themselves as feminists fighting for their rights over the years. I could go into detail but will spare you.
They’re not being rejected because they’re women but because they’re wrong. SB people also reject men who are anti-vax like Wakefield, Blaxill, Olmsted, Hooker etc.
We’re not sexist, we’re SB. Equal opportunity for woo-meisters and mistresses to be discarded.

Even as we speak, Rossi ( @ KimRossi1111) is complaining that she just lost a ” major speaking gig” because she is ” too controversial”. How long will if be before she attributes that to an anti-feminist attitude?

Why do people who are ardent conspiracy mongers always play the “persecuted minority” card. Of course we should question a claim as profound as the one anti vaccine advocates make. To quote Carl Sagen “Extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence”.

Why do people who are ardent conspiracy mongers always play the “persecuted minority” card.

Because when you don’t have evidence to support your nutbaggery, conspiracy is the only option.

They will latch on to anything ao they can play the victim. Then if you debunk their nonsense you are attacking parents with vaccine injured children.

First, thank you for doing this. I imagine it’s painful, but it’s helpful.

Second, I want to ask (with some hesitation, as a non-scientist) whether your point about age also counters the other thing Hooker tries to do, which is counter the explanation Dr. Offit and the authors raised, that kids were given MMR to attend early intervention programs after there were indications of autism?

Finally, Hooker also tried to analyze the other correlation, between “mental retardation” (using the words in the DeStefano and Hooker paper), and as the original authors found – and published – found a correlation there in the raw, unadjusted data – and your points about not controlling for confounders, and the effect of having to get mmr to enroll in early intervention programs, also apply there. Maybe that’s why nobody blinked when that result in the raw data was in the original, 2004 paper.

I’m sure that Hooker is trying to counter Paul’s response, but I can’t say for sure if he has. Perhaps one of our resident epidemiologists can weigh in…

Thanks for your excellent analysis, Orac. In the title of the post it is written, “Brian Hooker’s antivaccine pseudoscience has risen from the dead to threaten children again.” Throughout your analysis, there was no mention of how Hooker’s efforts “threatened children again.” In contradiction, do scientist’s analysis of Dr. Hooker’s effort reaffirm MMR safety?

Q. Does a failed attempt to show a vaccine-hazzard inherently lead to “threatening children.”

If the answer is “YES”, vaccine research is dangerously skewed.

When you make the same stupid argument over and over again in the face of evidence to the contrary, the answer is inherently NO.

I agree and would like to add passive aggressive to your adjectival phrase:
he kowtows to Orac, praising his “excellence” and then finds a way to insult the body of what Orac supports

That has to be one of the poorest phrasings of a question I have ever seen. Unless, of course, you meant the poor phrasing just to confuse the issue (something I suspect after having seen your repeated comments).

First off, the word “failed” is connected to the word “attempt”, indicating that this is a “failed attempt”. And yet we know that anti-vaccinationists will use this to attempt to persuade people not to vaccinate. Since we can not say clearly that this attempt will fail, your question is misleading.

So here is your question “corrected”:
Q. Does an attempt to show a false vaccine-hazard inherently lead to “threatening children.”

But we can boil down your question into a simpler version:
Q. Does an attempt to show false medical advice inherently lead to “threatening health.”

The answer is obviously YES.

“. Unless, of course, you meant the poor phrasing just to confuse the issue”

I think the poor phrasing is an accurate reflexion of MJD’s muddled thought processes.

Who is threatening children? The only answer I can think of is that Hooker is trying to endanger children and that his research is dangerous and skewed.

Are the Geiers still promoting autism pseudoscience?
They were listed as speakers for this year’s Autism One conference and will be present at the 2019 event as well.

Talk about zombies!
Legally sanctioned zombies?

The Daily Beast today has a piece (paid-subscriber-only) about Humble’s Mineral Solution now being “adorned with the prized “Amazon’s Choice” label on the e-commerce site, promising “highly rated, well-priced products available to ship immediately.”.

It’s titled, “Why Did Amazon Endorse a Ghastly Autism ‘Treatment?’”. Subhead: “‘ts Amazon promoting something that is not merely ineffective, but actively harmful and dangerous” .I don’t pay DB, so I can’t read it beyond the first few lines. It appears to start out as an account and debunking of the claims made for MMS. I don’t know what the piece says about Amazon. I suppose I’d guess that “Amazon Choice” designation isn’t made by humans, but by some algorithm of customer rating, price, and sales volume…

Maybe Brian Hooker could get an endorsement deal with Humble, with ads placed in the front of JPANDS, For some reason that acronym makes me think of adult diapers, which may be some Freudian thing involved in how they come up with that title. Return of the repressed. 🙂

While I just saw the article today, the “Choice” designation has already received enough bad pub that Amazon has taken it down. I was able to see more of the story by looking at the page source.

The label drew public attention after it was spotted by Philippe Chouinard, a Canadian family physician who specializes in “treating children with autism” and ADHD. The product boasted the “Amazon’s Choice” designation at least until late November, when Chouinard tweeted a screenshot of the product’s page and condemned the retail giant. “Amazon’s Choice??? Unf*ckingbelievable,” Chouinard wrote on Nov. 29. “Making money off of the suffering of autistic children who are being given Miracle Mineral Solution.” “F*ck your disclaimers too, you know what this is” he added, referencing Amazon’s legal disclaimer that none of the product’s claims had been evaluated by the FDA, and that “None of the products or statements on this website are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition.” In the days following Chouinard’s tweet, the “Amazon’s Choice” label,likely generated by an algorithm, no longer appeared on the product’s page. Between Dec. 7 and Dec. 8, days after The Daily Beast reached out for comment, the product was pulled from Amazon’s shelves entirely.” But advocates say that’s not good enough—and that the product never should have been sold or endorsed in the first place. “It’s Amazon promoting something that is not merely ineffective, but actively harmful and dangerous,” Steve Silberman, author of “Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity” told The Daily Beast.

Indeed, the link you shared goes to a page where you can buy the MMS directly from Humble, and that’s now the only source on the site. So, previously you could buy it from Amazon, get it shipped in orders from Amazon with other Amazon stuff in an Amazon box, etc etc. So Amazon has stepped back in response to pressure. There may be legal issues preventing them from kicking the direct-to-Humble page off the site, but that’s just a guess.

I just looked also. My search was for “Humble’s Mineral Solution.” I found nothing that was labeled Amazon’s Choice.

There may be legal issues preventing them from kicking the direct-to-Humble page off the site, but that’s just a guess.

The Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions page, naively interpreted, would seem to prohibit it, but unsurprisingly, one has to be a seller to see the details, at least with that page as a vector.

Quacktastic news of the day:

Famed “healer” John of God is under investigation in Brazil for myriad sexual abuse complaints.

“In recent days, dozens of women have come forward to accuse the famous medium, whose real name is João Teixeira de Faria, of being a serial sexual abuser who preyed on vulnerable patients during would-be healing sessions.

Their accounts have upended the image of Mr. Faria, whose global fame exploded after Oprah Winfrey broadcast a profile of him in 2010 and then interviewed him during a visit to his center in 2012…In a 2010 profile, Oprah Winfrey said: “People around the world credit John of God and the spirits that work through him for many miraculous healings. He has also been misunderstood by some, persecuted by others and even accused of impropriety.”…
Ms. Winfrey’s one-on-one interview in 2012, which aired the following year, turbocharged his fame. It is no longer available on her website.”

Looking forward to John of God doing psychic surgery on his fellow prison inmates.

Do we think that Oprah will do another piece about him being under investigation? Or if he is convicted? (Probably not, but maybe?)

Of course it is good he is under investigation, but not to downplay sexual abuse, he should be prosecuted for the abuse of ill patients, promissing them healing, while he doesn’t do anything for them, exept seperating them from their money.
It’s a bit like prosecuting Al Capone for tax-fraud.

Sorry if this is a confused question I’m doped up, but does this latest analysis in anyway change the obvious refutation that geting MMR on time seems to be protective against autism? I know it isn’t really, and that the apparent increase with age is likely to be about african-american boys being giving MMR shots as they are diagnosed with autism so they can qualify for prorammes of assistance, but at the level most of the anti-vax posters are working, ie emotional, that refutation ‘looks right’.

I wish it were true, and I wish it were also true that being a white boy or an African American girl or any of the other combinations were protective against autism, but that’s not the way statistics works.
I think the easy way to follow this is to note this:

For instance, for receipt of first MMR dose at 18 months or earlier, there is no statistically significant relationship. At 24 months, there is a weakly statistically significant (p=0.03) relationship with an odds ratio of 1.82. However, there were only 23 cases, which is a small number for a case-control study like this. At 36 months, the odds ratio was 3.86, but this is based on only 7 cases.

Those seven boys were part of a group of (I don’t know how many) African-American boys vaccinated at 36 months. In any case 7/whatever was a high ratio, high enough to indicate that there was some factor beyond chance distribution involved.

What you’re asking about is (number of healthy boys vaccinated on time)/(number of boys vaccinated on time). If those 7 autistic boys had been added to the group (number of boys vaccinated on time) then the ratio would have been lower. The current ratio is higher. But because the numerator and denominator are both large numbers, moving those seven boys doesn’t change the ratio enough to make it out of the norm.

I do know it isn’t really the case, I just liked to use it when discussing the analysis with anti-vaxers 😉

He’s holding up a study that he says shows that vaccines cause autism in AA males to support his claim that a bunch of while children have autism because of their vaccines. Honestly, you don’t even need to read the study to know there’s something off in his ability to parse data.

I can’t help but be amused at the desperate depths these anti-vaxxers plumb to delude themselves that they are legitimising their work. I have no doubt they sincerely believe in themselves but good grief, isn’t there anyone in their circle to pull them away from this futile venture?

RFK Jr may pose as a progressive but he is sure scraping the bottom of the right-wing barrel to get support for his crazed antivax obsession. Last year, he boasted that Trump was appointing him to chair a “vaccine safety” committee. That fizzled out into nothing. Now he’s citing articles from the AAPS journal. Check out Wikipedia on the AAPS – it’s scary.
At least I can take comfort that he is destroying what reputation he ever had, and becoming more and more regarded as a laughing stock,

Apparently “retracted” doesn’t quite mean “retracted” to the editors of this journal.

This is the way it’s supposed to be, although the usual practice is to waterstamp each page with “retracted.” This should be in the COPE Gudelines somewhere, but I’m way too tired. It’s a regular topic at Retraction Watch.

Already it appears a new Bill Posey has emerged in Congress to cling onto Hooker’s pseudoscience: “Tennessee Congressman-elect, and physician, Mark Green is making the case that vaccines may cause autism”, from a Fox17 News Nashville story ( ) with Green claiming the CDC is withholding data. Green hasn’t directly cited Hooker but the timing (yesterday) is rather suspect.

According to Wikipedia, Green is also a creationist and says psychiatrists view transgender issues as a “disease” ( not true).
His medical staffing business made him a lot of money.

Charlie Pierce has an article from the Tennesean about Mark Green a doctor Congressman elect.

“Let me say this about autism,” Green said. “I have committed to people in my community, up in Montgomery County, to stand on the CDC’s desk and get the real data on vaccines. Because there is some concern that the rise in autism is the result of the preservatives that are in our vaccines…As a physician, I can make that argument and I can look at it academically and make the argument against the CDC, if they really want to engage me on it.”

I actually hope this quack anti-vax doc does engage on it, if only to force certain passive pro-vax physician groups to either respond to this anti-vax pseudoscience or look inexcusably aapathetic.

He mentioned “preservatives”, which normally mean “thimerosal” if we are talking of a autism – vaccine autism link. I would be interested by which pediatric vaccines he thinks have thimerosal in them (sssshhhh, don’t tell me : flu shot ?).

Yeah, a real genius of an anti-vax doctor if he’s going to play the “preservatives” gambit on any cases of autism since 2000.

Sorry if this is a confused question I’m doped up….

I’m not (although I’ve been really short on “me time” lately and extremely anxious), and I could barely make heads or tails of the thing. Data presentation is not the man’s forte. I wonder whether one could calculate a q‑value.

There’s plenty of biological plausibility for African American boys at increased risk of autism by MMR. Unfortunately, ‘Orac the Sterile’ is unable to recognize gut microbiota regulating immune response to vaccination and the fact that African Americans have different flora than other races. They also have different levels on neutrophils associated with adverse vaccine reaction, guided by gut microbiota. Here’s a new paper: “Do gut microbiota mediate adverse vaccine reaction?” Please share it on Twitter:

Note: this is hardly “only” about African American boys. Gut dysbiosis is rampant.

Why does this only happen when they get the MMR when they are over a certain age? The most logical reason is their parents delayed vaccination due to income issues, and only got them vaccinated after a diagnosis of autism. This resulted in them been told of services where the vaccines could be give for no fee and subsequent admittance to special ed. preschool as was their right under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act under ChildFind.

You obviously are hand waving to support some idiot reason.

According to Anti-vax 101, kids become autistic because they’re given vaccines too early ( “too many, too soon”) so delays and greater spacing are recommended;
what Hooker “discovered” is really contradictory to their bible’s talking points: these kids inadvertently got the coveted delayed MMR. So how come they have autism?
But then I’m sure they’ll find a convoluted way to make this sound acceptable to their followers.

Chris, congratulations on your truly asinine comment. But an excellent question! Research infant gut microbiota assembly including flora shift after cessation of breastfeeding. It is quite dynamic and can explain CDC research finding increased odds of autism in black boys from 18 to 36 months per Hooker.

Mr. Bell, I am not the racist in the room. Actually, the issue with the late vaccinations due to poverty was actually discussed in the original paper. Perhaps you do not understand the socio-economic issues in Georgia.

African Americans have different flora than other races

Is it the giant jugs of cheese puffs, the collards, or the fried chicken?

I presume that you would have an N of zero, but one can always hope.

^ Right! File an FOIA action for swabs from Obama. I mean, there might be some HIPAA issues, but those can be sorted out. You could perhaps start with a postcard to the Surgeon General or, even better, Kelvin Whatshisname.

Why exactly does Keith think that there is a similarity in microbiota between African American children living in Georgia and Somali children living in Minnesota? That’s some serious ignorance about genetic and geographic diversity.

Also, Keith, I attended a panel on the human microbiome and cancer immunotherapies and while the experts had a lot of interesting things to say, they emphasized how complicated the whole thing is an how we shouldn’t be simplistically applying bacteria. Also, lactobacillus don’t colonize the gut.

What exactly am I wrong about, Keith?
Did I not attend that panel discussion?
Am I wrong that the scientists were very clear that the microbiome is very complicated?
Why would you think that people living in two very different parts of the continent, with different genetic background and different diets, would have the same microbiome?

If you’re not specific on what I’m wrong about how can I learn and correct it?

Lactobacillus do colonize. Plenty of research confirms this, especially in infants. L. plantarum probiotic was found to prevent sepsis in infants because it does colonize.

Where did I ever say AA children in Georgia have the same flora as Somali immigrants?

The vaccine industry is now in complete disregard of microbial regulation of immune response to vaccination. It being “complicated” is no excuse for this gaping hole in vaccine science.

The bottom line is that no one is going to trust that taking a probiotic will protect them from a vaccine injury. But science behind mechanism of injury being microbial predisposition is now being funded.

No Keith. Some of you statements are simply factually incorrect. “The vaccine industry is now in complete disregard of microbial regulation of immune response to vaccination.” Not true. I was just at conference where this was one of the topics. And the general conclusion: we should figure this out, but we can’t just go around adding bacteria because it is clearly way more complicated than that and there is risk of harm.

Stop acting like this is all well-characterized. It is not. Period.

Have you read none of the reports on outcomes of FMT? The weird things that change? The 5 page checklist for FMT donors?

Why are you mad that doctors and scientists are being cautious? Isn’t that what you want, more care?

Justa, show me even one vaccine safety study published about microbial predisposition to adverse reaction. They don’t exist. Fact. That’s complete disregard when all the studies are about improving efficacy via microbiota. There’s no caution whatsoever.

JustaTech indeed. Let’s acknowledge plenty of biological plausibility for vaccine-induced autism when factoring the microbiota-gut-brain axis.

“African-American” is a race now? Goodness me. That’s not even wrong, not even by the standards of ‘Race Science’.

Keith Bell, infant gut microbiota changes when infants start eating solid food, whether they were breastfed or not. The microbiota is also going to change as the infant gains mobility and starts putting everything they touch into the mouth.

Box, good to see your interest in infant gut microbiota, one of my favorite subjects. Have you heard salt reduces probiotic bacteria? What would happen upon vaccination to a child with reduced or absent Lactobacillus allowing overgrown gram-negative bacteria? It’s apparently recipe for adverse reaction and injury. Let’s research it. There are no papers.

“excess salt decimates the lactobacilli in the gut while blood pressure rises and the number of Th17 helper cells is increased. These immune cells are associated with hypertension and autoimmune diseases like MS.”
“When the animals were given probiotic lactobacilli in addition to the high-salt diet, however, the frequency of TH17 helper cells decreased once again and blood pressure dropped. The probiotics also alleviated the clinical symptoms of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a disease model for MS.”

Hi Keith Bell! “Diet is definitely pertinent”

Yeah. Have you heard of “traveler’s diarrhea?

Gee, moving from one location to another far away, with different foods available, changes the microbiome? This is about as earth-shattering as infant microbiota changing.

When will the vaccine industry begin to factor microbes present at time of vaccination? It’s the elephant in the room regarding vaccine injury including autism and epilepsy. Yet there are no studies, why not? Ours is the first paper focusing on this dynamic.

Gut microbiota assembly is based on gestational age, but also the maternal microbiome including vertical transmission of microbes.

The latest news is the government’s own expert claiming he warned vaccines can cause autism in a subset of children, but what defines that subset? Microbes.

But if you want to talk about diarrhea, let’s talk about poor sanitation as cause of vaccine failure and a global childhood stunting epidemic. Seems quite possible poor sanitation should also be associated with adverse vaccine reaction due to dysbiosis.

I’ve done marketing. He isn’t doing that. This is merely a bald political strategy called diversion. In this case a hopelessly weak attempt to divert attention away from rock solid data using weepy emotionalism. However the only tears I’m shedding are due to laughter.

Chris, thanks for the compliment, very kind.

rs, get a grip and do some research for a change. You don’t actually trust scientists, do you? Certainly not doctors like ‘Orac the Sterile’ who, once again, is speechless. It’s difficult dragging Orac out of his lifeless dungeon.

Mr. Bell, either you are illiterate or just do not understand sarcasm. You are not a scientist, therefor your opinions can be safely ignored.

By the way, were are those PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers not on the Dwoskin payroll that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more seizures than the diseases. I asked that several times in 2015, surely you must have found some in the last three years or so.

“There is a five-fold higher risk of seizures from the MMR vaccine than seizures from measles, and a significant portion of MMR-vaccine seizures cause permanent harm. For example, 5% of febrile seizures result in epilepsy, a chronic brain disorder that leads to recurring seizures. Annually, about 300 MMR-vaccine seizures (5% of 5,700) will lead to epilepsy.”

But the real question is: is there a microbial predisposition to seizure associated with vaccination? Gut origin of seizure is a hot research topic.

So which study was Thorsen the lead author on? And was he the lead researcher on all the studies?

By the way, just like legal rulings are not science, financial malfeasance is not the same as bad science. Especially since he was a bit player.

Poul Thorsen, a criminal fugitive on the run

“On the run”? What kind of fucking imaginary world do you live in?* He’s working as a physician in Denmark, which has no apparent intention of extraditing him.

*Oh, wait, you left out the Interpol. You can’t even get your tired shit fleshed out, Bellend.

“There is a five-fold higher risk of seizures from the MMR vaccine than seizures from measles, and a significant portion of MMR-vaccine seizures cause permanent harm. For example, 5% of febrile seizures result in epilepsy, a chronic brain disorder that leads to recurring seizures. Annually, about 300 MMR-vaccine seizures (5% of 5,700) will lead to epilepsy.”

But the real question is: is there a microbial predisposition to seizure associated with vaccination? Gut origin of seizure is a hot research topic.

For context I said, some editing including added emphasis:

Mr. Bell, either you are illiterate or just do not understand sarcasm. …

By the way, were are those PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers ….

So Mr. Bell responds with press release by an anti-vax group, that links to a letter to the editor quoting Doshi, who is no real medical nor epidemiological qualifications:

So the verdict is that Mr. Keith Bell is illiterate. So along with having no scientific education, his reading level is only at a third grade level.

Interestingly enough, a very long time ago prior to D-K, SIKNM** studied how kids with below-average/ average/ above average grades would predict their own performance on class tests and – guess what?- the worst predicted the highest ( over-confidence) and the best were most nervous about results. I won’t list the fellow’s name because it might place me and I don’t want to be IDed.
Another gentleman studied the relationship because university grades by departmental groups ( business/ liberal arts/ sciences) and eventual earnings- AND guess again- just as you’d suspect.( although that was prior to the digital age). Also Anon.

** somebody I know not me

Comments are closed.