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Antivaxers are targeting minorities with their misinformation and conspiracy theories

Orac has been writing about this a long time. Finally, the mainstream media are noticing how antivaxers target minorities with their message.

Without a doubt, in the US the antivaccine movement is largely white, affluent, and privileged. At least that’s true of the members of the antivaccine movement that we see on social media every day spreading pseudoscience and misinformation about vaccines and especially those protesting bills to eliminate nonmedical exemptions to school or SB 276, the bill in California to crack down on bogus “medical” exemptions, who, in their utter privilege, liken themselves to the “new civil rights movement“. That’s not to say that there aren’t antivaxers among the poor and minorities, but by and large the reasons for poorer vaccine uptake in those communities have less to do with vaccine hesitancy or antivaccine views than with lack of access to adequate health care or other financial or social barriers to having their children vaccinated. It’s also because many of these communities are vulnerable that this particular targeting is particularly dangerous. After all, if a community is already medically underserved, it certainly doesn’t help them if their vaccination rates fall because of antivaccine propaganda taking hold. That’s not to say that antivaxers haven’t been trying to recruit from minorities.

Indeed, they’ve explicitly targeted them with their misinformation. I’ve been writing about this sort of tactic for years now, and I saw earlier this week that the mainstream media has apparently finally noticed as well, given that ABC News published a story, Anti-vaccine leaders targeting minority becomes growing concern at NYC forum. The story is about the Harlem Vaccine Forum, in which Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. targeted people of color in Harlem, but the story goes back long before that.

One of the earliest (and most despicable) examples of antivaxers targeting a vulnerable minority population began over a decade ago, when a cluster of autism cases was noted in the Somali immigrant community. The story made the news, and unfortunately antivaxers descended like vultures and succeeded in convincing a lot of parents in the community that it must be vaccines causing the cases of autism. For example, David Kirby, author of the book Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy, which was one of the early works using pseudoscience to link thimerosal in vaccines to autism was writing articles like ‘Autism May Be Caused By “Chemical Exposures”‘ specifically about the Somali community in Minnesota, with a “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” that the “idea that ‘chemical exposures’ (vaccine related or otherwise) might cause autism still brings virtual apoplexia to certain scientific circles.” He had previously hammered the same theme on the antivaccine blog Age of Autism. I’m not going to go into detail here why this cluster of autism cases was not really evidence of a higher rate of autism or that vaccines cause autism. I did that already over two years ago. The point is that white, affluent antivaxers targeted a immigrant community consisting of people of color, and the results were measles outbreaks, the worst of which occurred between 2016-2017, and as a result uptake of the MMR vaccine plummeted from over 90% to 42% in just a decade.

Worse, during the middle of outbreaks, antivaxers regularly showed up to give talks and spread their misinformation. During the last outbreak in 2017, Mark Blaxill swooped in to spread antivaccine pseudoscience. The crew of the VAXXED bus showed up to do the same. Indeed, back during the first major outbreak in 2011, Andrew Wakefield himself even made appearances.

I’ve also discussed multiple other examples. Back in 2016, after the release of the antivaccine propaganda movie disguised as a documentary, VAXXED, Andrew Wakefield, Del Bigtree, and others held screenings with Q&As afterward in minority communities, such as Compton. During their protests in 2015 to try to stop the passage of SB 277 in California, the bill that ultimately passed and eliminated nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates, antivaxers, such as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., teamed up with the Nation of Islam in their protests.

It’s not just communities of color, though. It’s any isolated community that might be marginalized or vulnerable. Another recent example of antivaxers targeting isolated communities involved their preying upon the orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn and Rockland County, spreading antivaccine misinformation and invoking “religious freedom” to argue against making it harder for them to obtain religious exemptions to school vaccine mandates. The result was a very large measles outbreak.

So it’s good to see mainstream media noticing this particular predatory tactic:

Increasingly, those same anti-vaccine leaders have their sights focused on a new target: they’re infiltrating minority groups with existing skepticism of the medical establishment and exploiting the historically fraught relationships those groups have with doctors.

“It’s really vile, predatory behavior,” Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said of the anti-vaccine leadership.

The “band of predators,” as Hotez dubbed them, includes Robert Kennedy Jr., a prominent anti-vaccine proponent, and Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who sparked the anti-vaccine movement with a now-debunked and retracted study and who is barred from practicing medicine because of numerous ethical violations.

They’ve already spread disinformation about vaccines in the Somali refugee population in Minnesota and Orthodox Jewish communities in New York State, which have both suffered severe measles outbreaks. Now all signs point to an effort to undermine the black community’s fragile relationship with doctors.

Unfortunately, the African-American community is particularly vulnerable to this sort of appeal because its members have a lot of reasons to distrust the conventional medical community. Of course, there’s the history of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, in which African-American men with syphilis were intentionally left untreated in order to observe the natural course of the disease. It was an incredibly unethical experiment, a medical atrocity actually, and it’s the sort of thing African-Americans don’t forget. It’s not the only story, unfortunately. Far from it. Indeed, the cancer institute where I work has an active research program in medical disparities, including the effect of implicit bias on interactions between minorities and physicians. It was an eye-opening experience to learn about it and see presentations about just how differently minorities are often treated, even by physicians with little or no detectable overt racism.

The most interesting part of the story to me is how antivaxers tried to recruit an African-American writer and science journalist, Harriet Washington:

Her work, including authoring the book “Medical Apartheid,” has focused on African Americans being mistreated by certain medical professionals throughout history. So when Washington received an unexpected phone call from Kennedy roughly five years ago, she says he may have expected that her critique of racism in medicine translated into blanket distrust of established medicine.

During the conversation, Washington says she remembers discussing Kennedy’s claim to her that African-American boys were being used in secret vaccine experiments, and a subsequent parallel she says Kennedy drew to the infamous Tuskegee experiment.

“He was clearly trying to enlist me,” claimed Washington.

This brings me to one of the more fantastical conspiracy theories used by white antivaxers to try to recruit black people to their beliefs, the “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory. I’ve written about and discussed this particular conspiracy theory more times than I can remember, but to boil it down to its essence it involves the “reanalysis” of a study looking at the MMR vaccine as a risk factor for autism conducted by CDC researchers 15 years ago. In brief, CDC researcher William Thompson got into a series of phone conversations with an antivaxer named Brian Hooker, biochemical engineer turned incompetent epidemiologist and statistician. Thompson provided Hooker with access to the data for the study, “reanalyzed” the data and claimed to find a four-fold elevated risk of autism in African-American boys. As I explained many times, though, he and Andrew Wakefield neglected to mention that even Hooker’s reanalysis was stone cold negative for even a whiff of a correlation in every other subgroup and the entire population studied overall, that the number of African-American boys was very small, making this result almost certainly spurious (which is why it disappeared when the original researchers did it). The conspiracy theory became the basis of the movie VAXXED. And, yes, comparing this alleged result was compared to the Tuskegee syphilis experiment in the very first video about the CDC whistleblower produced by Andrew Wakefield.

Interestingly (and not unexpectedly), RFK Jr. was not particularly pleased when Washington was…less than enthusiastic…for his speculation:

But when Washington, who worked for years as a science journalist, pushed back at Kennedy, asking for proof to back up the connections he was making (and has made before), “He became very angry and began shouting at me,” she said.

The conversation continued to digress, Washington said, with Kennedy suggesting that she “was somehow being disloyal to African Americans.”

Then Kennedy hung up, she said. Kennedy denied raising his voice and told ABC News Washington’s claim that he implied she was unsupportive of the African-American community was “invented, crazy and just wrong.”

Gaslighting. It’s what old white guys like RFK Jr. do best, particularly to women and even more so to women of color. Let’s just put it this way: Whom should I believe, a respected journalist or a lying liar like RFK Jr.? Indeed, that RFK Jr. called Washington a liar (her claim was “invented”) and crazy tells me that it’s far more likely that Washington’s version of what happened is the much more accurate one. After all, if RFK Jr. told me it was sunny outside, I wouldn’t believe him until I had a chance to look out of a window myself to verify.

I also like that this news story included a quote to show what minorities think of antivaxers misappropriating the language of the civil rights movement to apply to their own “struggle” to make measles great again:

Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, a New York City-based civil rights organization, said that “interlopers” like Kennedy do a disservice to the African-American community when they appropriate civil rights language to further anti-science positions.

“I’m not seeing a scintilla of scientific evidence from any reputable public health expert that supports their claims,” he said. “If you don’t have that, do not come into our communities trying to trick, fool and bamboozle people and create artificial fear.”

Before the MMR vaccine was available, kids regularly died of the measles and mumps, Morial, who has three kids, cautioned.

“We’re talking about something that’s so serious. You’re trying to convince parents to put their own children and the children in their community at risk,” he added.

Thats exactly what RFK Jr. and his ilk are doing. They don’t think of it that way, because they deny the efficacy and safety of vaccines, but it’s what they’re doing nonetheless. Indeed, when it comes to vaccines and autism, RFK Jr. is the very epitome of the white savior, except that what he is doing is the opposite of saving anyone. That they would invoke the civil rights movement in the process makes what they’re doing all the more detestable.

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]

123 replies on “Antivaxers are targeting minorities with their misinformation and conspiracy theories”

But when Washington, who worked for years as a science journalist, pushed back at Kennedy, asking for proof to back up the connections he was making (and has made before), “He became very angry and began shouting at me,” she said.

That sounds so familiar. Exactly like how antivaxxers respond to me and to other autistics when we push back against them. In both cases, it’s paternalistic and patronising.

Orac writes,

After all, if RFK Jr. told me it was sunny outside, I wouldn’t believe him until I had a chance to look out of a window myself to verify.

MJD says,

The probability of it being sunny outside is clearly overlooked in this scenario. With vaccines, the probability of someone adverse to vaccines to make a black cloud of the risk/benefit ratio is clearly high.

@Orac,

Why do publicly disclosed vaccine contraindications lack incidence rates? Such information would be helpful to better understand the vaccine-safety climate. Please advise with a sunny disposition.

MJD, so sorry to see your idiocy here today.
A sunny day in Vancouver is orders of magnitude more prevalent than even the most common adverse vaccine reactions. Are you even trying anymore? Your trolls are getting feeble and weak.

If you look at the Vaccine Information Statement, it does actually address whether something is common or rare, and some in life numbers.

Those numbers can also be found in the Pink Book and studies. They’re not hidden.

If you mean why inserts who lost reported events (and to remind you, under the old regime, without regards to causality), maybe because the nature of such reporting doesn’t lend itself to either figuring out causality or rates?

But that information is out there.

There is no “autism epidemic”. It is simply that the condition is now recognised. My autistic daughter was born in 1974. At that time the measles vaccine was a single shot. Her regression coincided with our move to the Netherlands; we assumed this was the reason and that her speech would return. We first got the autism diagnosis when she was nearly eight years old. It took that long. We did not hear the term Asperger’s Syndrome until she was fifteen.

A few years ago there was concern that too many children were being labelled autistic when in fact they were not; autism is genetic and that is that.

@ Elanor Quin,

Autism is a multifactorial, immune-mediated, genetic condition. Many people have many of the 300+ genetic variants for autism & will not regress into autism.

In order for that to happen; an immune-mediating event must first take place.Genes + immune mediated event = autism.

Was your daughter immunized before or after your move to the Netherlands?

I was born in 1967 in Japan & am a non-responder to the MV. When my dad’s assignment in Japa was over & they needed to return to the U.S. with their two new daughters; the USAF was requiring proof of immunity (vs proof of immunization); as the MV was not well-received in Japan & there had been Measles outbreaks.

Unfortunately, not much was yet known about non-responders to the new MV & I received FOUR before my parents were allowed entry to the US.

I did soon after regress & in the 2nd grade was identified as mentally retarded. Luckily, one facet of my ASD is Hyperlexia & when re-tested they discovered I was reading at the level of a HS grad at age 7 & I was removed from SPED but sort of floundered with no support at all until I left school with a 9th grade education at age 15.

I obtained my GED at age 16 & scored very high, enough to receive a (non-form) letter from the White House urging me to return to education, which I did & I graduated college at the age of 22.

Nobody knew about autism (or hyperlexia) then. I was diagnosed at age 38 as ADD/ASD with atypical Hyperlexia (a savant capability 100% associated with ASD).

The MV DID cause my autism & yes; I DO have the suspect genetic variants on my:

HLA class II-DRB1 and DQB1 alleles
SLC6A4
CYP2D6
NAT2 R197Q
COMT V158M
COMT H62H
VDR Taq
MAO A R297R
MTHFR A1298C
MTRR A664A
CBS C699T
CBS A36OA

… among others & my MECP2 gene is literally ‘reverse to the genome’ & I am the only person in the world known to have that particular variant. That is the ‘Rett Syndrome’ gene but I do not have Rett Syndrome.

I have all of the ‘right’ genes for autism but was a neurotypical child until I was inadvertently vaxxed with four times the recommended dose of the MV.

Which is exactly what a multifactorial, immune-mediated genetic disorder would mean.

Autism is a multifactorial, immune-mediated, genetic condition.

You should have no problem getting large grants and assembling a team of the best autism researchers given you’ve solved the problem that has been/being studied for decades by thousands.

Have you checked the genes ?
SLC6A4 serotine transporter
CYP2A6 drug metabolism
NAT2 another drug metabolism
COMT signal molecule metabolism
VDA vitamin D receptor
MAO signal molecule metabolism
Rest of genes involve methionine metabolism
None of genes involve immune system, expect of course HLA class.

“immune-mediated” Uh-huh. As all the kids say: “[citation required]”. Also, “correlation ≠ causation”, “relative ≠ absolute risk”, and any attempt to cite the usual toxic suspects (Wakefield, Geier, Shoenfeld, Exley, et al) gets you instantly laughed out the room.
Assuming you’ve got hard evidence that immune system activity does trigger autistic regressions, what is the relative rate of regressions due to vaccine-triggered immune responses versus disease-triggered immune responses?

Because unless you can show vaccines have a significantly higher trigger rate than the diseases they prevent (unlikely), then prophylaxis is still the correct course of action (excepting those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons), backed up by a no-fault compensation scheme for serious reactions where the treatment can be reasonably shown to be the trigger.

Which—Guess what?—is exactly what pro-vax government, medical, and industry agencies already do. Now kindly tell us about the prevention, treatment, and compensation schemes that anti-vaxxers have put in place for those injured by vaccine-preventable diseases.

TL;DR: Your smug sophistry ain’t fooling anyone here. GTFO.

“@ Elinor Quinn; sorry for misspelling your name”

You should also apologise for your disinformation about vaccines.
There is no link between vaccines and autism.

Elinor Quinn: Thank you for this – it accords with my experience with my child (though he’s younger than yours, so it took less time to get a diagnosis). Another person with autism in our family was born in the 1960s and not diagnosed until an adult. It’s good that more people are being diagnosed – it doesn’t reflect a new cause like vaccines, bad mothers, or reality television, just better recognition of the people who have always existed, and who are now getting help instead of being locked away or ignored. The vaccine-blamers will no doubt give you a hard time for telling the truth – don’t worry about them.

My grandson was born in Albania and he was two years old when he arrived in Australia with my daughter-in-law. We also thought initially that it was the change in environment. New places, and different people. So it took another year or so for the penny to drop. And he really did have classical symptoms in retrospect.

During the conversation, Washington says she remembers discussing Kennedy’s claim to her that African-American boys were being used in secret vaccine experiments, and a subsequent parallel she says Kennedy drew to the infamous Tuskegee experiment.

This is really beyond the pale, an outright disgusting lie playing to medical atrocities perpetuated on blacks. I do believe Ms. Washington given her experience and how easily and frequently lies flop out of Kennedy, Jr.’s gob. I’ve also seen Kennedy, Jr. lie speak and he does get very shouty and angry.

Indeed, when it comes to vaccines and autism, RFK Jr. is the very epitome of the white savior, except that what he is doing is the opposite of saving anyone.

White saviour or simply preying upon a vulnerable demographic because he tapped out the stupid, privileged suburban housewife contingent?

Before the MMR vaccine was available, kids regularly died of the measles and mumps, Morial, who has three kids, cautioned.

Minority children did die of measles at a disproportionate rate compared to whites and RFK, Jr., Bigtree, Wakefield et al. want that to happen all over again for their grotesque cause.

There’s a certain brand of white guy who wants to be a White Savior, and when the human being in front of them doesn’t express the wonder and gratitude that Wannabe WS cast them in the role to express, said WWS often lashes out. I find Washington’s story very believable.

There is no “autism epidemic”. It is simply that the condition is now recognised

Why, yes! In five years or so autism might be costing the US 1 trillion annually because scientists are starting to figure out that a certain segment of the mentally retarded population have a tendency of flapping their hands and sticking their fingers in their ears. Scientists are also realizing that high functioning ‘oddballs’ also have the disorder.

https://health.ucdavis.edu/health-news/newsroom/autism-costs-estimated-to-reach-nearly-500-billion-potentially-1-trillion-by-2025/2015/07

@has
Oh, I’m very much worse than that. And?

As for chiroquacksy, the adjustments Greg needs are far beyond that “art.” A shop that specializes in straightening of the frames of large trucks would have the requisite equipment. A blacksmith could do the job if need be.

Why, yes! In five years or so autism might be costing the US 1 trillion annually because scientists are starting to figure out that a certain segment of the mentally retarded population have a tendency of flapping their hands and sticking their fingers in their ears. Scientists are also realizing that high functioning ‘oddballs’ also have the disorder.

Are you enjoying yourself de-humanising a segment of our population? You must be because you do it all the time and people like Christine don’t speak out because its all about the vaccines to you. The costs are artificial in terms of measuring the “damage” of autism you twit. If we had been investing in services for autistics and recognising them as a vulnerable population that needs help and can be productive participants in society instead of warehousing them and leaving to die young, then the costs would have been there all along. Ask yourself if your children would be proud of the crap you are spewing and if so, you’ve failed as a parent.

Are you enjoying yourself de-humanising a segment of our population?

Science Mom, who really is dehumanizing autistic individuals? The person lying about their real increasing numbers, which inextricably amounts to sweeping the problem under the rug, or the person calling a spade a spade? Must give you creative marks though for essentially suggesting not only are we getting better at diagnosing autism, but also the costs that go with it.

Of course Greg enjoys de-humanizing people with autism. Why else would he bang on about it so?

The real question is, given how Greg goes on and on about “hand flapping” is, does Greg know the different between “hand-flapping” an sign language?

The person lying about their real increasing numbers, which inextricably amounts to sweeping the problem under the rug, or the person calling a spade a spade?

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the scientists who have sussed out ASD prevalence. How is that “sweeping the problem under the rug”? It’s anti-vaxxers that abuse those numbers. Stop using the excuse of “being real” to insult a swath of our population to give yourself shits and giggles and pretend you’re advocating for autistics.

If only those autistics would flap their hands in the direction of Gerg’s abusive mouth, ideally balled into fists. What a cruel narcissist and seminal representative of the antivax movement he is; may they enjoy the same circle of hell as Cardinal Pell.

If we had been investing in services for autistics and recognising them as a vulnerable population that needs help and can be productive participants in society instead of warehousing them and leaving to die young, then the costs would have been there all along

Reflect on that nonsense for a second! In the past, society neglected and mistreated those mentally retarded kids who flap their hands and stick their fingers in their ears. They didn’t mistreat the other mentally retarded kids, who didn’t die young and are still with us today, many now middle-aged or older.

To correct the grave past wrongs committed against the mentally retarded kids who flap their hands and stick their fingers in their ears, the US is now poised to fork out over a trillion annually for them.

Reflect on that nonsense for a second! In the past, society neglected and mistreated those mentally retarded kids who flap their hands and stick their fingers in their ears. They didn’t mistreat the other mentally retarded kids, who didn’t die young and are still with us today, many now middle-aged or older.

To correct the grave past wrongs committed against the mentally retarded kids who flap their hands and stick their fingers in their ears, the US is now poised to fork out over a trillion annually for them.

Autism isn’t mentally retarded and I second, third, fiftieth the sentiment that you are an irredeemable asshole. You don’t know shit about autism nor autistics nor how diagnoses have changed over the decades.

Flapping their hands and putting fingers in their ears? Are you sure they weren’t trying to tell you to stop bothering them?

“RFK Jr. is the very epitome of the white savior, except that what he is doing is the opposite of saving anyone.”

I just thought that bore repeating – and happy that Orac said it because now when I tell people that, I can say, “And I’m not the only one who thinks that!”

Science Mom: ” White saviour or simply preying upon a vulnerable demographic..?” **
Why not both?

Observing these people, I’ve noticed a few things ( all of them awful)
— it’s not just anti-vaxxers, woo-meisters target minorities too ( see PRN)
— some of them simultaneously court minorities and then show disrespect for them and their communities ( they live in “ghettos” “crime areas”, have ” no education”, they’re not pure, righteous country folk) NN, PRN. Some even kindly volunteer to go into cities and “fix” them, bringing healthy lifestyles, counselling, education, green juices ( PRN***)
— they present an ideal that is as outdated, lily white and fictional as old television sitcoms.

ALSO
— leaders function as role models for followers:
How many of them write books, lecture, maintain websites? An anti-vax mother approaches pregnant women or new mothers in stores to warn them.. they leave tracts in doctors’ offices ( TMR). They shriek on blogs about “babies dying” or accusing all SBM supporters of “drug dealing” ( contra RI). They start their own groups on facebook or elsewhere to advise parents . Some rap and gather their followers to carry on in the nation’s capitol ( VIE) or document how the media covers up the autism “epidemic” or “esplain” the physiology of ASD ( both AoA).
— these wannabes seek out followers

** AoA is not exactly thrilled with ABC
*** fuck that racism

I didn’t mention how they target Orthodox Jewish people! Same basic tactics but utilising different associations concerning past inhumanities . Just as bad, just as insulting.

The attitude is not just white saviour, I think it’s also class based. As in a member of the ‘elite’ class wants to help ‘the little people’ and then gets offended when it’s not wanted or ‘the little person’ turns out to know more than they do, or dares to question them. A paternal attitude can lead to public good, but no-one likes being patronised.

There is also the predatory element to them seeking targets that are socially isolated and vulnerable to being groomed with pseudo science. The fact that this is even possible shows rather starkly the many failures of our society.

So true.
Unfortunately, the average income/ accumulated wealth of black people is much lower than it is for whites and Orthodox Jewish families ( at least in the NY area) tend to be less affluent as well. ( a case of reality defying stereotypes).
Isolation makes people particularly vulnerable to misinformation, they’re cut off from the mainstream which might provide a more SB view or at least, multiple viewpoints.
I’ve found that woo-meisters also target Hispanic people by translating their tomes into Spanish ( NN, PRN). I haven’t seen as much by anti-vaxxers except for a few Spanish speakers in the CA rallies / TMR.

Even “White Saviour” is far too complimentary of movement AVers.

Spend an hour on r/raisedbynarcissists; the ubiquitous predatory patterns of their Nparents sound more than a little familiar.

What is the best way that society can support and assist families struggling with autism? Prevent more autism so there are more funds to go around — not less!

By far the largest influence in autism is genetics, with maternal illness during pregnancy being a much less common but known cause.
So if you want to ‘prevent’ autism, you’ll need to
— prevent two parents who are both anywhere on the spectrum from having kids
— insure that no one is allowed to became pregnant before being immunized against Rubella.

Which one are you advocating?

What’s striking to me is not RFKJ’s stance as white savior or noblesse oblige savior, but the absolute shamelessness of his tactics. He tries to sweet talk Washington into supporting him. Then he tries to bully her into supporting him. Then, when she still resists, he turns to public character assassination.

Sound familiar?

There’s a larger disease here, neither specific to nor necessary for anti-vax. Referring to it’s appearance in Trumpers, Michelle Goldberg labeled it “total epistemological nihilism.” It’s not new. It’s what prompted Joseph Welch to say to Joe McCarthy “At long last, have you no sense of decency?” Tail Gunner Joe’s strategy of tell-ANY-lie was engineered and mastered by Roy Cohn, and while Cohn was alive it marked its adherents as social outsiders, generally recognized as disreputable, if tolerated now and then for ends-justify-the-means campaigns. But now, this mode is so ubiquitous, it might as well be the air we breathe. Of course this is how RFKJ rolls now. He’s just swimming along with the current.

LOl; It’s the evil antivaxxers!

So in my quest to get out about & out of my own little autistic bubble & to learn exactly who the ‘evil antivaxxers are’; I have been doing some major networking & I’ll tell ya: I have never met a pro-vax minority.

I have met many minority parents of children dead & disabled from vaccines though. THEIR stories. Completely unsolicited.

You haven’t a clue. There is no amount of propaganda that can make people hate vaccines for no reason. They hate them with reason & that would imply a deep & personal loss. You can muffle & gag & obscure all you want but the problem remains that vaccines are causing death & disability ever day.

Our ranks grow by the most unfortunate scenarios because vaccines continue to maim & kill.

And Washington needs to pick her damn corner. When she talks to black people she is sympathetic to their concerns; to the point of almost admitting the truth but then she gets in a corer in front of her colleagues & changes her tune. She needs to stop being sometimey.

Unfortunately for your evidence-free, anecdote-based narrative, there is no link between vaccines and autism. And the side-effects of vaccines pale into insignificance compared with the morbidity and mortality of vaccine preventable diseases.

@ BillyJoe,

Yes sir that was a free-wheeling narrative. Better than pro-vax trope. I post peer-reviewed evidence here all the time but have found a complete lack of critical thinking with the exception of Julian, Alaine & a few others.

You can choose to not listen to me but until kids stop dying from vaccines there will be a ever present & growing army of ‘evil antivaxxers’. It just is what it is.

You are free to side with that crap-epidemiology that couldn’t correlate gravity to a falling object, that exists in complete defiance of the unrelenting anecdotal evidence presented by grieving parents & with a complete disregard for the growing etiological evidence if you wanna … but don’t say nobody ever tried to tell you.

Chris, I wouldn’t hold your breath. I’m still waiting for her to explain how vaccines are to blame for my family history of dyslexia.

Yeah, I am not holding my breath. I just love the assumption that vaccines caused his autism, but not his heart disorder.

I challenge Christine to post up a single, scientifically-verified case of a child dying from a properly administered Vaccine.

I’ve asked plenty of anti-vaxers to do so & in over two years of asking, they have provided exactly zero.

“There is no amount of propaganda that can make people hate vaccines for no reason.”

Yes, because hatred is always based on reason and propaganda never works. Derp!

It is not just epidemiological studies. Remember Japan experiment: MMR vaccination stopped, and autism rate went up.
And there are, of course, autopsies, cytokine tests and twin studies. And epidemiological are scrappy only because they get wrong results, of course.

“And Washington needs to pick her damn corner.”
I’m sorry, are you telling an African-American journalist how to be African-American?
Because that would be stunningly inappropriate and tone-deaf.

There is no amount of propaganda that can make people hate vaccines for no reason. They hate them with reason & that would imply a deep & personal loss.

So, then, explain commenter Greg.

I’ll answer that, Christine. Although not in my family, I can see the damage and harm that Christine is reporting up close and personal that I am compelled to speak out.

“white, affluent antivaxers targeted a immigrant community consisting of people of color”

Each to his own, but I refuse to cast the issue in these terms which, I believe, just perpetuates divisions between people. It’s not white against black, affluent against indigent, male against female, privileged against minority. A majority of white affluent males actually support equality for all regardless of race, sex, or gender. It makes no sense to disparage them as a group.

In this case, it is simply antivaxxers making use of every opportunity to spread disinformation about vaccines. In my opinion, identity politics is a losing game for all concerned. In this case, it doesn’t even make sense. The antivaxxers were not actually discriminating against the Somali community (nor do I think that their purpose was to help them in their misguided way). The antivaxxers were simply using the situation to further their cause.

@ BillyJoe,

Each to his own, but I refuse to cast the issue in these terms which, I believe, just perpetuates divisions between people

Interesting … You are able to see something most here cannot.

thanks.

“A majority of white affluent males actually support equality for all regardless of race, sex, or gender.”

Is that the same majority of white affluent males who voted for Donald Trump?

“Majority?” When less than 50% of people voted in the Presidential Election overall, you have no way or reason to claim a “majority” of any particular group did anything.

What if it was said this way: anti-vaxxers in a position of social and economic power work to further their cause by taking advantage of existing inequalities and divisions between the social, economic and political majority and minority groups that do not have the same power.

Or, rich, majority anti-vaxxers take advantage of existing (earned) distrust of the system by poor minority groups to push an anti-vaxx agenda.

Or, since this needs to be said a lot: just because these specific anti-vaxxers are rich and white and influential, does not mean that being rich, or white, or a man, or even influential makes one an anti-vaxxer. It just means that these anti-vaxxers are taking advantage of their position in society.

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the scientists who have sussed out ASD prevalence. How is that “sweeping the problem under the rug”? It’s anti-vaxxers that abuse those numbers.

No Science Mom! — even the scientists are conceding the increase is real and calling for non-genetic research to explain the increase, yet here you are very much insinuating the increase is just a figment of the imagination. Again, for the growing number of families struggling to look after their severely disabled autistic kids — kids experiencing sensory overload that they flap their hands, stick their fingers in their ears, bang their heads against walls, or smear feces — by denying reality, you are the one dehumanizing them and essentially giving them the middle-finger.

The researchers can’t explain why autism rates have increased across the United States. Factors associated with a higher risk include advanced parental age (children of parents over age 30 have heightened risk), maternal illness during pregnancy, genetic mutations, birth before 37 weeks gestation and multiple births.

“These are true influences exerting an effect, but they are not enough to explain the high rate of autism prevalence,” said Zahorodny. “There are still undefined environmental risks that contribute to this significant increase, factors that could affect a child in its development in utero or related to birth complications or to the newborn period. We need more research into non-genetic triggers for autism.”

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190411131538.htm

No Science Mom! — even the scientists are conceding the increase is real and calling for non-genetic research to explain the increase, yet here you are very much insinuating the increase is just a figment of the imagination.

Gah you are thick, a liar (well known that) or both. All avenues are being investigated, not in dispute; it’s just not the vaccines which you read into every time you see the word “environmental”.

by denying reality, you are the one dehumanizing them and essentially giving them the middle-finger.

I’d say nice try but there you go again with your vile characterisation of autistics. It’s a spectrum you shitwit and you haven’t done anything for autistics, ever.

I had a quick read through of the article you posted. You are being deceptive.
The title is: Autism rate rises 43 percent in New Jersey, study finds.
So, already it’s limited to a small geographic area. Furthermore:

New Jersey is known for excellent clinical and educational services for autism spectrum disorder, so the state’s higher rates are likely due to more accurate or complete reporting based on education and health care records, the researchers said.

It is known that people often move to areas with better services to take advantage of them. That strikes me as a plausible explanation for the increase.
Finally, the article had a link to the study. I recommend you read that, particularly the “Limitiations” section, as you clearly didn’t.

So Greg, explain why Mississippi & West Virginia (two US states which have had mandatory vaccinations for school – with only medical exemptions for decades) don’t have the highest rates of autism.

I’ll wait.

In my opinion, for what it’s worth, autism is the 80s/90s version of ADHD, in other words, over diagnosed to the point that every second or third child has it!
Both of my children were diagnosed with ADHD in the early 90s, one wasn’t even at the appointment and he was diagnosed.
It was my daughters appointment and we spoke in length about my son, he said to bring him in and he filled out the forms right there on the spot so I could put them in to our local social security to start getting paid because both of my children had a ‘disorder’.

Now I see friends with children with autism and they are no different to my kids back then.
There is no blood test for either disorder although there are medications for ADHD children, which, for the record, I gave my kids for a week then stopped them. I’d rather have a bratty child than a zombied one!

There is no blood test for either disorder although there are medications for ADHD children, which, for the record, I gave my kids for a week then stopped them. I’d rather have a bratty child than a zombied one!

My opinion is that any neuropsych drugs have to be handled very carefully and thorough examination of the patient along with close monitoring. A duh! I know. Have you seen a different psychiatrist? One that specialises in paediatric ADHD and has a solid record of staying very current on drugs, contraindications and usages? Your child shouldn’t be a zombie on the correct medication and dosage.

No Science Mom, I didn’t see anyone else, but that was back in the early 90s when they were young children, my son has since passed away but he grew out of the ‘bratty’ stage at some point.

“ In my opinion, for what it’s worth, autism is the 80s/90s version of ADHD, in other words, over diagnosed to the point that every second or third child has it!”

It’s not your imagination. Both of the following are happening:
A: Kids with some form of autism, including Asperger’s, are being Dx’d and sometimes actually helped into becoming functional adults. They might otherwise have had bad outcomes.

B: ASD has became a substitute Dx for a variety of maladies, including sometimes none. For example it’s acceptable to tell a parent her child is autistic, not some much to label them as retarded or whatever the euphemism of the year happens to be. If the kid has some other, perhaps uncategorized development disorder, an ASD dx means they will be sent to some sort of services, while in other cases there may be little available. Thus, a well-intentioned social worker will label them as autistic. Child social workers have told me this in person, and it’s general knowledge in special ed. Good Intentions . . .

There are instances where parents push for a diagnosis of Autism for their child – because it allows them to access special ed services available through public schools….even if the real diagnosis is something different.

I’m glad to know I’m a zombie.
I must not be a very good one, I haven’t eaten anyone’s brains ever.

(Can we please, please, pleas stop with the idea that all brain meds turn people into “zombies”? Yes, there are some scary strong drugs out there. But these days they’re used in crisis, not every day! People talk about “kids on ritalin in the ’90’s”, what about all the people on barbiturates in the ’70’s? Pop culture would have you think those things were handed out like Tic-Tacs. I wish ritalin had turned my brother into a zombie. As best I saw it turned him down from 11 to maybe 8.)

To be fair JustaTech, Ritalin was a wonder drug for ADHD in the 80s/90s and my anecdotal experience was that it was prescribed rather liberally and know of some who did describe their state of being as zombie. I don’t think denitomskin was implying that psych drugs turn people into zombies, rather it was her/his personal experience with their son.

Science Mom, that’s reasonable. It’s just that, as a person with ADHD who uses medication and has since the 90’s (not ritalin, that was my brother), the constant stigma is pretty exhausting.

The funny thing is that ADHD was probably underdiagnosed back in the 90’s, specifically in women and girls, because women and girls with ADHD present differently from men and boys with ADHD (sort of like how women and girls with autism often don’t present all the classic signs and symptoms).

Kim Rossi (formerly Kim Stagliano) came out with a truly unhinged “Age of Autism” post today which seriously suggested that the ABC piece is putting RFK Jr. at risk of falling victim to “sanctioned violence.” Link here: ageofautism.com/2019/11/abc-news-forgets-what-it-means-to-be-a-kennedy-in-the-united-states.html

Good. AVers should also be sued for full cost of vaccine-preventable diseases, including lost earnings, hospital bills, long-term care, and wrongful death compensation. They make a big deal of the NVICP paying out $3Bn for [presumed] vaccine injuries; let’s see how quickly they pay out that amount for [proven] disease injuries. Considering measles cripples or kills 1-10 in every 1000 and a single tetanus patient is easily $1M a pop, paying literally for the consequences of their actions will quickly teach them how to count beyond One.

A Modest Proposal for preventing Anti-vaxxers from being a Burthen for Sceptics or Society and For making them Beneficial to the Publick

Day after Day, they hound and haunt Denizens of RI with Anecdotes and nonsensical Hypotheses, straining our Patience and raising our Blood Pressure; even worse, they hone their Skills at presenting Arguments in order to dupe the Unenlightened** and to misled innocent parents. What shall a sceptic do? Ignore the obviously wrong ideas? Argue with them? Attempt to instruct them and show them the Error of their Ways***?

Well, we know that despite any data or evidence we give, they will always find a way to question results. They refuse to accept multiple sources that obliterate their claims. They can’t learn. They are emotionally tied to beliefs that serve psychological purposes: an Australian researcher found that anti-vax believers tend to accept other conspiracy theories and regard themselves as rebels or holders of minority opinions. They are special and not of the common run. So what to do with them?

I suggest we ourselves use them and their arguments in the following Programme:
— to instruct other readers ( lurkers and regulars) who can learn from the accumulated knowledge of particular commenters. WE can hone our own skills at arguing our points, showing how they botch up data and general information.
— to present SB studies that illustrate how bad the AV position is
— to compile studies that show 1. No relation between vaccines and autism and 2. early indicators of autism prior to vaccines, including studies of brain development, MRIs etc..

I’ve noticed a sore point for anti-vax mothers ( e.g. Kim Rossi, Katie Wright- twitter) : they despise studies that survey genetics or early indicators of autism ( such as studies of gaze) BECAUSE they are anathema to their position- “a waste of money” ****, they shriek. Of course, they hate them. They cancel out their major points.

I know that I’m not saying anything new BUT we should consciously attempt these tasks and also use these opportunities to basically, show off: because Orac and his Minions have Mad Skilz and such.

** I’ll stop with capitals- you get the point
*** Oooops,
**** Wright wants studies of the microbiome and autoimmunity- I wonder why?

“They cancel out their major points.”

You give them entirely too much credit. They cannot stand to hear it’s genetics not because that destroys their arguments but because it destroys their personal perfection. I’m not kidding when I say go spend some hours reading stories on r/raisedbynarcissists. AV psychopathology has a lot of overlap.

The studies DO negate their major points.. doesn’t mean that they’ll believe them.
I know about their …er….tendencies… I am the person who has asked if believing in anti-vax despite overwhelming evidence, data and societal disapproval is akin to delusion and other symptoms

So Greg, explain why Mississippi & West Virginia (two US states which have had mandatory vaccinations for school – with only medical exemptions for decades) don’t have the highest rates of autism.

I’ll wait.

Real increase is occurring in all states. The states with better detection will catch it, and likely report higher prevalence. Miss and WV likely have poorer detection.. If they had better detection, likely their rates would be the highest, given they have the highest vaccination uptake from forced compliance.

Don’t believe me that some states are known to have better detection — i.e. NJ with the highest autism rate?! Read the CDC’s prevalence studies.

So you admit the “epidemic” is driven by detection! It’s not the vaccines after all.

But Greg, how could this be true? You keep telling us that everyone with autism is trivially easy to spot by their “hand flapping” behavior. So how could a state need experts to diagnose autism if you tell us it’s so obvious? How could there be a difference in detection? Do you have any evidence that West Virginia and Mississippi actually have a lower detection rate for autism?

Or are you relying on nasty stereotypes of “lazy, ignorant Southerners” and “idiot, inbred Appalachians”?

You keep telling us that everyone with autism is trivially easy to spot by their “hand flapping” behavior. So how could a state need experts to diagnose autism if you tell us it’s so obvious? How could there be a difference in detection? Do you have any evidence that West Virginia and Mississippi actually have a lower detection rate for autism?

JT, an important distinction needs to be made here. There is spotting autism, and then there is the formality of diagnosing it. Yes, the average person can detect that there is something ‘up’ with that kid that flap his hands, or stick his fingers in their ears, or walk around in circles during recess, or quacks like a duck on the bus, but you need the clinicians and agencies to slap the kid with a diagnosis. As well, you need an adequate medical or educational system to make the referral. Not to mention, parents and caregivers must also be motivated to take the plunge into those assessment networks.

Jt, I will spell things out further: A poor. stressed, black single mom in Mississippi noticing that Dexter has a tendency of sticking his fingers in his ears may not be so motivated to investigate, and after considering that her pitiful, underfunded community agencies would only give her the run around.
A wealthy, married, white woman in New Jersey, however, noticing that Tommy has a tendency of flapping his hands might be more apt to get on the phone with Dr Johnson, and in short order there being five appointments and referrals lined up.

JT, as to the evidence that West Virginia and Mississippi have a lower detection rate for autism, I’ll leave things up to your deductive abilities: Consider the article below stating that black and hispanic kids are under-diagnosed. JT, Mississippi’s black population is 37%, and it is only 13% in New Jersey. Are we on the same page, JT?
.
https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/addm-community-report/differences-in-children.html

Consider the article below stating that black and hispanic kids are under-diagnosed.

Wow, a 0.1 increase in prevalence ratio in the ADDM catchment, which includes neither Mississippi nor West Virginia.

“Are we on the same page, JT?”
No. No we are not on the same lazy, racist page, Greg.
I love how I specifically mentioned stereotypes and then you jump feet-first into describing your hypothetical Mississippi parent as “A poor. stressed, black single mom” even though later on in your post you note that Mississippi is only 37% African American.

As for the kids who (you imagine) “walk around in circles during recess, or quacks like a duck on the bus”, well, I’m sorry that your school didn’t allow for independent play when you were a child. Were your games all Red Rover or the one with the incredibly nasty name that was all about hitting smaller kids?

Let’s face it Greg, you have no data, no first-hand experience, no training, no knowledge and no compassion. I don’t know why you hate anyone who deviates from your idea of the “norm” so much, and frankly, I don’t care. All I know is that you are lazy, ignorant and unkind to people who have never done you any harm, who you have never met, never interacted with, and who will never have any impact on your life.

Wait! You believe the CDC studies that agree with you but not the ones that don’t? Must be a real tough job working HR at the CDC. Mr A is clean, send him to study ASD prevalence. Mr B gets a Pharma cheque, send him to study ASD causes. Don’t forget to collect blackmail info on Ms C, she’s showing signs of a conscience. Ms D hasn’t paid into the tea kitty this week, send out the black helicopters.

Also, most people with ASD don’t flap their hands, put fingers in their ears or eat wallpaper or whatever other little contemptuous giggles you can come up with.

Also, most people with ASD don’t flap their hands, put fingers in their ears or eat wallpaper or whatever other little contemptuous giggles you can come up with.

Yes Numb, likely most kids with autism don’t flap their hands. I keep referring to that as shorthand for the other obvious symptoms. Those symptoms include a third being nonverbal, over-half functioning at the borderline or mentally retarded level, over two-thirds with severe learning challenges, over half exhibiting extreme behavioural challenges including aggression… Then there are the other co-morbid conditions of seizures, motor disorders, gastrointestinal and stomach issues, food allergies, sleep disorder, sensory disorder,… Numb, these symptoms taken together, really how hard is it to identify an autistic child? As I said, challenges in diagnosing the conditions is often not due to inherent challenges identifying it, but bureaucratic bunglings,

“Wait! You believe the CDC studies that agree with you but not the ones that don’t? Must be a real tough job working HR at the CDC.”

Your comment has the (non-supported) assumptions that greg has read the study, or that if he read it he understood it or is even trying to be honest about what it says. His history shows he has no understanding of statistics and no internal obligation to tell the truth about anything.

Weird that Greg. Your new best mates at the CDC reckon that 44% of people with ASD have average or above intelligence. Not quite your two thirds with severe learning difficulties is it? Even the remaining 56% are going to be ranging from average to downover rather than jumping straight to non-functional. Interestingly enough, it looks like the CDC include Downs syndrome people with ASD etc in their tally of percentages too. Are you going to assume that vaccines have a temporal jump component that can affect you before you get them?

Julian, what are you whining about here? The study is over 10 years old? Nevertheless, I found scientific evidence confirming that my ‘dehumanizing’ stereotypes of autistic kids were indeed facts. Most do stim such as flapping their hands and sticking their fingers in their ears. Thanks also for pointing out how the researchers explicitly state such stereotypes that correlate so highly with autism, and even with high functioning autism, can be used for diagnosis. Yes Julian, the study is over 10 years old, but where is your study refuting it?

More hand-waving (perhaps you have autism, Greg) – I mean, using the term “likely?” So, you really don’t know, do you?

Notice also only 30% non-autistics with low IQs and 18% of delayed kids were reported as stimming. How do these findings support the notion that autism was hard to spot in the past, and now the present?

Because until recently stimming wasn’t recognised for what it was – a way for autistics (and some non-autistics) to soothe themselves when overstimulated.

Really, Julian? Autistic kids stim to soothe themselves? The study offers another explanation. Hint: brain damage.

Stereotypies are widely considered to be behaviorally driven. An argument supporting their neurobiological basis, rather than deliberate self‐stimulation, is their correlation with the severity of the autism and cognitive impairment, both indexes of the extent of underlying brain dysfunction. Lewis et al.30 suggest that stereotypies, autism, and severe cognitive impairment signal early‐life disruption of subcortical neuronal networks implicated in dopamine neurotransmission. Our observation of more low NVIQ females having more stereotypies than males raises the issue of potentially sex‐related differences in the development of basal ganglia circuitry concerned with motor control. There are sex‐hormone‐related differences in the immature rodent brain, such as substantia nigra pars reticulata’s effects on seizures,31 and differential vulnerability of white matter to hypoxia–ischemia.32

My comment taken from another thread, and Science Mom’s ‘disgust’ reaction?

Well, consider over half of autistic kids are mentally retarded or borderline retarded; yes — the average person can pick-out that ‘slow’ looking kid in a mall who is flapping his hands or sticking his fingers in ears and guess the kid is autistic with likely 80% accuracy. If the kid is in the mall with his mom during school hours, the accuracy goes up!

It’s becoming more clear why you are in online forums so much; you are vile and insufferable and I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be in your personal presence. You’re not even interesting, witty or intelligent.

Science Mom’s disgust aside, really, how far off was that assessment? What is the likelihood that special-needs looking kid in the mall, who is flapping his hands or sticking his fingers in his ears (stimming or exhibiting stereotypes) is autistic? Goldman actually tells us! In their sample of 277 special needs kids, 122 displayed stereotypes during observed play sessions, and out of that number 88 (72%) of them were either high or low functioning autistic kids.

So, there you have it, it is a 72% chance that special-needs looking child in a mall that is stimmining is autistic. I was off by 8%. I say not bad at all!

PS: JT, have you read Goldman’s study? How does it jive with your assertion that I have ‘no data’?

Reflecting further on Goldman it demolishes the notion that autism prevalence is increasing simply because we are spotting more high-functioning ‘odd’ kids and slapping then with the autism label. It’s often explained that autism is becoming the grab-bag for everything that doesn’t fit under ‘normal’. Consider though that with Goldman, 70% of HFAs and 63% of LFAs were reported as displaying stereotypes. By contrast, only 36% of mentally retarded non-autistic kids displayed stereotypes, and it was also a mere 18% for just delayed kids.

These results suggest that high-functioning and low-functioning autism indeed represents a unique disorder. That ‘oddball’ high-functioning autistic kid is not just ‘weird’, he has issues –autistic issues! Regardless of his ‘high-functionness’, his affliction firmly places him in the same family as his lower functioning autistic brothers and sisters. Clinicians are indeed diagnosing kids with ‘real’ disorders.

I should have responded to your dreck earlier, but life got in the way.
I had a look at that article. Here’s an interesting comment.

First published: 15 December 2008

In other words, you posted a study that is over ten years old.
Secondly, the article uses “[person] with autism”. A minor nitpick, but something I find annoying.
From the abstract:

Autism contributed independently to gait and hand/finger stereotypies

Or to put it another way, hand flapping is a common stim in autistics.
Oh, and here’s an interesting comment:

Although stereotypies are not limited to autism, the association was much stronger for autism than cognitive level. Therefore, stereotypies should raise this diagnostic possibility, regardless of cognitive level.

You seectively quoted from the article and missed the word “supporting” in the quote.
In short, you had to go back TEN YEARS to find something that supported you, and it wasn’t as supportive as you first thought.

Julian, what are you whining about here? The study is over 10 years old? Nevertheless, I found scientific evidence confirming that my ‘dehumanizing’ stereotypes of autistic kids were indeed facts. Most do stim such as flapping their hands and sticking their fingers in their ears. Thanks also for pointing out how the researchers explicitly state such stereotypes that correlate so highly with autism, and even with high functioning autism, can be used for diagnosis. Yes Julian, the study is over 10 years old, but where is your study refuting it?

Actually, my comment was intended as a response to this:

Reflecting further on Goldman it demolishes the notion that autism prevalence is increasing simply because we are spotting more high-functioning ‘odd’ kids and slapping then with the autism label.

Which you did get wrong.

And what really are you confused about? Goldman found that 70% of LFAs and 63% of HFAs stimmed. Only 36% on mentally retarded non-autistic kids and 18% of delayed kids stimmed. The fact that LFAs and HFAs stimming correlated so much, undermines the notion that HFAs are just ‘weird’ kids that we are lumping under the autism umbrella, and autism rates are rising because we are counting these kids that don’t really have a disability and shouldn’t be counted. The study suggest HFAs are indeed presenting real symptoms of autism, and should be counted.

HFAs are just ‘weird’ kids that we are lumping under the autism umbrella, and autism rates are rising because we are counting these kids that don’t really have a disability and shouldn’t be counted.

Wait. Are you now conceding that the true autism rate has not gone up, it’s just that awareness and broadening diagnostic criteria have meant more autistics are now diagnosed?

“I’ve noticed a sore point for anti-vax mothers ( e.g. Kim Rossi, Katie Wright- twitter) : they despise studies that survey genetics or early indicators of autism”

Yes, because who could possibly support gene therapy to prevent or reverse autism?

Correct, Dr. DB:

And early indicators could also lead to a chance for earlier interventions, therapy. BUT then how could they blame vaccines?
( Maybe blame it on the mother’s vaccines? Rossi used to say her childhood vaccines caused her UNVACCINATED daughter’s autism – BUT after being laughed at for years, she now claims that her autism was due to a “difficult birth”- thus like CP- which she never talked about before. Maybe she forgot).
I’m not sure how much they blame maternal vaccines during pregnancy for autism because they present a quandary for their belief system:
— BECAUSE it’s ALWAYS vaccines BUT
— they would need to admit that insults to the child prenatally can cause autism (when the brain develops ASD relevant structures) such as Valproic acid, SSRIs, alcohol, infection illustrating that autism starts very early

Also implies that the cause lies in their own and partners genetic make up, for some, difficult to accept. I do think that the acceptance of many conspiracy theories (not just anti-vax) lies at least in part as a way of denying personal responsibility, as in it’s the government’s chemtrails that are causing my weird feelings, therefore there’s nothing I can do about it – except make a lot of noise complaining on the internet of course.

Of course.
Although you can’t control your genes BUT I think that it may feel like stigma to some people: it means that they – and their children- are not PERFECT. So many of the mothers describe their perfect, beautiful, brilliant child who was ruined by vaccines. We’ve all heard it.
-btw- there is new research** that shows that families with more than one autistic child are more likely to have a genetic component whilst if only one has ASD, it is more likely to be de novo variation.

** easy to find. Orac’s minions know how to find studies, scoffers won’t bother.

Saw something about it on the German morning-show. And hurray, I just saw two people, a politician and a doctor who were in favour of this bill.

Unfortunately, I tuned in for a live feed of the VILE… I mean VIE event in Washington DC.
First I tried to see if any real world news outlets had stories but they didn’t so I went to @ highwire talk which provided.
— I first saw a little of Dr Tenpenny, then MC Hilary, Dr Shiva Ayyadurai, inventor of the internet, and Mark Blaxill.
— fortunately, the live coverage included many interruptions so I only was able to see perhaps 20 minutes of the 50 I tried for
— the website showed how many viewers watched ( 60-82) never any more
— it’s hard for me to estimate crowd size BUT if I were pressed I might say “hundreds” not “thousands” – I noticed people walking unimpeded behind the clustered group.

I think that this will continue for another hour or so if anyone wants to try.

Returning to VILE BS LIVE! I happened to tune in just in time for Andy ( Oh joy!) , later a few parents displayed their disabled children like merit badges, RFK jr carried on as usual then a rabbi blew a shofar because he wanted to make the walls ( that is, those “buildings” in DC) come tumbling down like Jericho’s.

Mercifully, the broadcast was interspersed with gaps as it was previously so I didn’t really view 50 + 45 minutes- maybe only half that. No one said anything new but I think that Orac and others might “enjoy” Shiva who invented the internet ( although he doesn’t dance at all)
A caption claimed that “thousands” attended.

What I do for my fellow and sister sceptics!

Bob Sears got up there and cried for all the children he thinks he’s injured with vaccines while also insanely claiming he was a scientist and critical thinker. Guess Sears didn’t feel bad for all the infants that died from the California pertussis outbreaks this last decade that he helped create by driving down immunization rates in California.

Here’s an example of individual minority targeting done by an Arizona anti-vaxxer as posted 3 days ago on her FB page. Of note this anti-vaxxer cites former Merck employee Brandy Vaughan (her “friend”) who likely trained her to do this targeting when Vaughan came to Phoenix for a May 2019 anti-vax rally but also held workshops for anti-vaxxers on how to spread the lies while in Phoenix:

I had just dropped off my daughter at dance, and while still in the parking lot, I decided to reach out to XXX in text, to see if her daughter would be at dance today. We were texting back and forth, and I noticed a black man playing with his (what looked to be) 1 year old daughter. She was running, laughing and he was chasing her. I kept smiling, and thinking she’s SO CUTE! Then, I thought… “get out and give him a card!” So, I jumped out of my car, and approached him saying… “is this your little one?” (As I’m approaching with my hand extended with the Learn The Risk card in hand). He says, (looking somewhat puzzled) “yes”. I said, “I just wanted to hand you this” (giving him the card), and continued, “a friend of mine used to work for Merck (Brandy Vaughan), and she saw how corrupted it was in the industry. She started this website to educate on the dangers of vaccines. We are not being told the full truth, and in fact, are being fed a LOT of misinformation on this subject.” (He’s nodding his head, listening, and engaged). I continue, “please research this more… it’s important to make a fully informed decision. I have 5 kids, and my older ones were hurt by their vaccines. My youngest, was a home-birth, and has never needed a doctor. With the older ones, after vaccines, they were always sick with colds, amongst other issues, as their systems were struggling from all the chemicals in vaccines. They are creating cradle to grave customers. Even the history we’ve been told is a lie — vaccines didn’t save us, the mortality decline was because of better sanitation, plumbing, hygiene. I just HAD to come give you this info card, your little one is so cute!” He says, “Thank you! Thank you so much for approaching me with this, I really appreciate it, and I will definitely be looking into this more.”

I know this looks lengthy, but this was all said and done in under 4 mins.

This is the card I gave him (pictured).
Available here: LearnTheRiskDOTorg/Materials

I agree. Maybe you should stop insinuating that ASD and learning difficulties neccesarily equate to low intelligence then? It’s a contemptible approach for the anti-vax propaganda machine, ‘your kids will not only be difficult, they’ll be stupid too’.

As for your link. And? ASD can make it harder to relate to society. It’s no wonder that there is a higher percentage of people with ASD in poorer circumstances.

Reflecting on Anderson’s finding that ASD cases exhibited brain blebs of damaged brain cells and Goldman’s finding that the majority of ASDs stimmed or exhibited stereotypes, a strength of those studies was the observers and those diagnosing were blinded. Another similarity was the actually findings. Anderson found 67% of ASD cases demonstrated brain blebs and Goldman found 70% of LFAs and 63% of HFAs exhibited stereotypes. There is something eerily close about those numbers.

Consider also that Goldman speculated that stereotypes may be indicative of brain damage. I quote her again…

An argument supporting their neurobiological basis, rather than deliberate self‐stimulation, is their correlation with the severity of the autism and cognitive impairment, both indexes of the extent of underlying brain dysfunction. Lewis et al.30 suggest that stereotypies, autism, and severe cognitive impairment signal early‐life disruption of subcortical neuronal networks implicated in dopamine neurotransmission. Our observation of more low NVIQ females having more stereotypies than males raises the issue of potentially sex‐related differences in the development of basal ganglia circuitry concerned with motor control. There are sex‐hormone‐related differences in the immature rodent brain, such as substantia nigra pars reticulata’s effects on seizures,31 and differential vulnerability of white matter to hypoxia–ischemia.32

Could it be the two-thirds of Goldman’s LFA and HFA cases that exhibited stereotypes also had brain blebs, and matching Anderson’s 67% finding? Interestingly, this may also lead us to speculate what is occurring with the other third of cases? Why were they not stimming or showing brain blebs? Perhaps some might argue they were misdiagnosed, but 30% of Goldman’s LFAs did not stim. Ordinarily, we wouldn’t expect LFAs to be misdiagnosed. So, is there another mechanism at play contributing to autism outside of glaring brain damage?

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