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The practice of good science requires an open mind. Experiments and studies preformed may confirm what one suspects, or they may completely discredit an hypothesis. Further for any new theory to be valid it has to be reproducible by others in independent laboratories. All of this is by design. The pursuit of science is the pursuit of the accurate understanding of the universe; to be truly accurate you have to have cross-checks.

British Dr. Andrew Wakefield did not practice good science. He infamously claimed that the Measles – Mumps – Rubella vaccine was a trigger for the onset of autism. His 1998 paper in which he claimed the link between the MMR vaccine and autism was withdrawn this year by the Lancet. 10 of the 13 doctors who originally signed on to the paper have withdrawn their support and the work in the paper was extremely flawed.

"Originally posted at Squarestate.net"

There are consequences for really bad science. Dr. Wakefield is facing them now. As of today his license to practice medicine in Britain has been revoked. The General Medical Council found that Dr. Wakefield was guilty of serious professional misconduct.

The study which has caused so much confusion and consternation for parents of autism spectrum children and non-autism spectrum children alike was a study of only 12 children and actually said in it :

"We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described."

What the study did say is that is there seemed to be some link between the time when children were vaccinated and the time when most of cases of autism were also diagnosed. That is a correlation, but it is not in any way an establishment of causality. Lots of things start happen between the age of 1 ½ and 3 which could be triggering autism, if it indeed has a trigger in that sense.

Up to that point, it is good science. There seems to be something there, lets go and take a look at it. What happened with Dr. Wakefield was that he refused, and still refuses to let go of the hypothesis. He gained an enormous amount of fame and money from being able to point to a cause for at sum. He became a celebrity doctor with pals like Jenny McCarthy and other high profile parents of autism spectrum children. All this would have been great if there had been other studies that confirmed what his vanishingly small sample study pointed to. They did not.

Time after time larger scale studies done by other doctors in England and elsewhere showed there was no difference in the autism rates for children who were vaccinated with the MMR vaccine and those who were not. Yet the fear of autism and militancy of some parents of autistic children was enough to do incredible harm. Since the study appeared in the Lancet and the firestorm began, vaccination rates for Measles in Britain have fallen to 61%. This means that tens of thousands of children will be sickened by this disease which can permanently harm or even kill.  

It is hard to for those of us who do not have autism spectrum children to understand what those who do feel. As with any group there is going to a range of view points. I know there those who never bought into this idea that vaccination was a trigger, but there are also a very vocal and visible segment of the population who will continue to beat the drum for this theory even though it has been totally discredited. They may be acting out of guilt or fear or any of a host of reasons, but as long as they continue to insist on an idea that has no basis in science they are actually setting back the cause they are so passionate about.

If there is a silver lining in all of this, it is that Dr. Wakefield’s (or should that be Mr. Wakefield now?) claim has focused a lot more attention on autism and what causes the on set of this condition. It is always a good thing when more attention is focused on a condition, even if the original reason for it was fraudulent.

One of the things which makes this time in human history so interesting is the ability for information to be shared and shared quickly world wide. The problem with that is that bad information can be shared and reinforced just as quickly as the good. When emotion and the desire for a certain outcome is fused with bad information we see the result we have with the debate about the causes of autism. There are a lot of hurting parents out there who saw the best thing they ever did, their child, go from being on the normal path of development to the autistic path. This can be incredibly painful and the idea that there is an external source is one that is very attractive.

Sadly it is not supported by science. This is what many people miss about science, it does not care what we want or hope. It can’t help us if our point of view is contrary to the evidence. This is not done out of malice but it can feel that way. For people who desperately want an simple explanation, science often falls short. It would be nice to be able to say that the withdrawal of the Lancet article and the banning of Dr. Wakefield from the practice of medicine will put this pseudo-scientific notion that vaccines are a trigger for autism, but the reality is some will never let go of an explanations for the inexplicable change in their child. As long as that is true we will have to refute and ague about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, to the detriment of the very children they are designed to protect.

The floor is yours

UPDATE
A bit of an update at the request of Brook in Seattle:

The big issue with the study is that Dr. Wakefield claimed that changes in the digestive process caused by the MMR vaccine allowed proteins to get into the blood stream then to the brain. His contention was that this damaged the brain in ways that we identify with autism.

Over at Science Blogs there is a great explanation of the studies done to try to verify this hypothesis. You can find ithere.

What is particularly good about this article is it points out that there have been years of scientists arguing back and forth about this idea. That is what science is. In the end the link was conclusively proven to be non-existent.

Originally posted to Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 06:45 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips? Flames? (236+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JekyllnHyde, Angie in WA State, Sylv, taylormattd, Rimjob, Guaunyu, Nina Katarina, Pandora, mem from somerville, madmsf, drmonkey, Reino, Emerson, Shockwave, polecat, LeftHandedMan, elfling, shpilk, Matilda, sardonyx, bara, bronte17, Helena Handbag, brillig, Wee Mama, ScantronPresident, ganner918, otto, sngmama, pacoyogi, sidnora, Boris Godunov, wader, SneakySnu, psnyder, mrkvica, grannyhelen, GN1927, mcfly, never forget 2000, arielle, kalmoth, riverlover, Sue Hagmeier, fritzrth, ybruti, Kitsap River, tomjones, JayDean, cartwrightdale, ganymeade, slapshoe, Julie Gulden, soros, arkylib, historys mysteries, marina, lipowg, Treg, jrooth, JanetT in MD, Heiuan, mjd in florida, ArchTeryx, Chinton, PBen, bagman, kefauver, Phillyfreedom, terrypinder, stitchmd, eru, bleeding blue, sheddhead, skyounkin, HiBob, Ekaterin, Snud, begone, Mehitabel9, RJDixon74135, Philpm, salvador dalai llama, pico, esquimaux, BachFan, myboo, sherlyle, Junkyard Dem, Naranjadia, Kimball Cross, Naniboujou, Albatross, Hobbitfoot, birdbrain64, arbiter, real world chick, JVolvo, bleeding heart, ER Doc, middleagedhousewife, engine17, profh, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, means are the ends, hegemony57, Hedwig, expatyank, ipsos, AllanTBG, OHdog, GoldnI, pat of butter in a sea of grits, tegrat, dotsright, kmiddle, godislove, ColoTim, linkage, aravir, greenchiledem, BobTrips, vbdietz, millwood, gchaucer2, Got a Grip, LWelsch, TomP, Empower Ink, trivium, JDWolverton, MKinTN, alkalinesky, condorcet, JLan, longislandny, kevinwparker, indyada, codeman38, skohayes, Laughing Vergil, minerva1157, beltane, Greasy Grant, Cassandra Waites, bluesheep, NogodsnomastersMary, Gemina13, kyril, luckylizard, mattc129, CeeusBeeus, Jodster, Zulia, StrangeAnimals, dmhlt 66, ludwig van brickoven, Wordsinthewind, al75, lostboyjim, Ellid, MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel, SciMathGuy, Stephen Daugherty, Coach Jay, snackdoodle, CanyonWren, velvet blasphemy, SciVo, Daily Activist, MKSinSA, kevinpdx, OffHerRocker, Kysen, jfromga, Livvy5, davespicer, hatecloudsyourthoughts, seesmithrun, RhymesWithUrple, confitesprit, p gorden lippy, Commoditize This, gramofsam1, zaynabou, teachme2night, BFSkinner, Giles Goat Boy, pinkomommy, elginblt, rfall, DiegoUK, Lolo08, roystah, elengul, science nerd, dwayne, theKgirls, renbear, Colorado is the Shiznit, Linda in Ohio, coquiero, Amayi, BlueJessamine, dbradhud, mydailydrunk, trumpeter, semctydem, Lorikeet, BluePlatypus, majii, DruidQueen, dle2GA, yaque, aoeu, SilentBrook, dibsa, Aquagranny911, earljellicoe, rlk, Miggles, SoCalSal, weisja4, Ezekial 23 20, RLMiller, Edward Spurlock, allergywoman, I C Mainer, lightshine, gardnerjf, FireBird1, Hookah, TheLizardKing, J Brunner Fan, effervescent, swampyankee

    Understanding for grieving parents at the same time as respect for real science?

    Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

    by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 06:42:10 AM PDT

  •  good doggie, (10+ / 0-)

    thanks for sharing.  I just hope that they also put a gag order on him to prevent him from disseminating more lies to the public.

    Your argument is not thin and presents lots of convincing evidence. I am Backwards Man.

    by mydailydrunk on Mon May 24, 2010 at 06:50:51 AM PDT

    •  Well, most forms of democracy (21+ / 0-)

      kind of frown on that sort of thing, so I doubt it will happen. But losing his license really whacks his credibility.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 06:52:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Civil suits can impose one, can't they? (2+ / 0-)

        Your argument is not thin and presents lots of convincing evidence. I am Backwards Man.

        by mydailydrunk on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:00:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Samer, codeman38, kyril, yaque

          It might be a problem with free speech. Not because the person is speaking about the government (they aren't) but because the government is enforcing a ban on an opinion.

          You might be able to force them to not profit from it, but it seems unlikely that you can prevent them from talking about it at all.

          Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

          by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:10:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He's a Brit. (7+ / 0-)

            The British system has far less protection for freedom of speech than we do. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he can be silenced.

            He shouldn't be... no government should have that power. But he probably can be.

            --Shannon

            "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
            "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

            by Leftie Gunner on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:45:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In Britain, libel law places burden of proof (5+ / 0-)

              on the accused; they have to prove what they wrote is true, rather than the accuser having to prove it is false.

            •  The U.S. is pretty unusual that way. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              yaque

              We take for granted that a judge issuing a gag order has to justify why pre-emptive shutting-up is so necessary that it trumps a basic right. It's not that way most places.

              •  True... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SciVo

                but this is one area where the majority (expressed as the proportion of democracies) is simply wrong.

                I remain confused as to why the European democracies do not understand the basic power relationship between the people and the State in a free society.

                If the State is supreme, the people cannot be free. Maybe it's due to their history, or to the patterns of migration from the Old World to the New... but they still seem to get this basic equation backwards.

                And as long as that remains true, I cannot be a Europhile. Because I truly believe that we've got that most basic power relationship right, and they have it wrong.

                There is much to admire in British and Continental society. But I would not trade those benefits for the direction of power flow that they assume. At some level, they still consider people to be subjects, rather than sovereign citizens. Their willingness to accept the State's assumption of the power to silence is an obvious manifestation of the error that they make. No free citizen would allow his or her government to wield that power, and no person who would accept it is truly free.

                I'll take our way, with all of it's flaws.

                --Shannon

                "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
                "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

                by Leftie Gunner on Mon May 24, 2010 at 02:33:20 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I like Finland. (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm a quarter Finnish, so I pay a bit more attention to it than I might otherwise. Did you know that they're not Indo-European (genetically, linguistically, culturally)? They're Finno-Urgic -- an indigenous people who were tough and clever enough to survive the tsunami of warrior-priest-kings that swept most of the rest of Europe. I've never been there, but it's my Plan B for if the random right-wing terrorism here becomes more organized, systematic and pervasive. Back on the topic...

                  Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

                  a. Freedom of Speech and Press

                  The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respected these rights in practice. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to ensure freedom of speech and of the press. The independent media were active and generally expressed a wide variety of views without restriction, with the exception of hate speech.

                  Publishing hate material and public speech intended to incite discrimination or violence against any national, racial, religious, or ethnic group are crimes.

                  Internet Freedom

                  There were no government restrictions on access to the Internet or reports that the government monitored e-mail or Internet chat rooms. Individuals and groups could engage in the peaceful expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail. According to International Telecommunication Union statistics for 2008, more than 82 percent of the country's inhabitants use the Internet.

                  Courts can fine persons found guilty of inciting racial hatred on the Internet, and there were reports of court decisions in 2008 against persons for publishing and distributing hate material via the Internet. On March 17, the Helsinki District Court found a municipal politician in Turku guilty of circulating hate material and fined him 615 euros (approximately $920). The court found the defendant's remarks during the 2007 election campaign to be derogatory and slanderous toward immigrants. The Helsinki District Court also found an independent member of the Helsinki City Council guilty of writing hate material on his blog and fined him 330 euros (approximately $470). During the year the Kouvola Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of a man for posting anti-Roma hate material on the Internet.

                  Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

                  There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

                  b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

                  The constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly and association, and the government generally respected these rights in practice.

    •  He's got a book due out Wednesday (14+ / 0-)

      According to him, it's all a witchhunt.  Based on Amazon pre-order figures, he's going to make a fortune off of being a self-described martyr.

      Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

      by aravir on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:43:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And others... (8+ / 0-)

      I have been watching this story for 10 years and celebs like Oprah and Jenny McCarthy got on the bandwagon for this psuedophysician...I had long discussions with my attending who I was rotating with in pediatrics about the medical misconduct and ill will that this doctor was exhibiting...Granted, I empathize with the parents who have children with autism.  That is not the issue.  Of course, they are the ones that want to cling on to any form of help or cause that could have impacted their child in being afflicted with this child perservative disorder...However, when a doctor lies repeatedly about his research and others such as the two celebrities mentioned above give it a platform and run with it with as much influence as they have, it violates ethics on so many levels...I'm glad that his license has been revoked!  More like him should have theirs revoked as well and Oprah should issue a statement about this as well as Jenny McCarthy.  

      Oye...Glenn Beck is an idiot!

      by 3O3 on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:37:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The damage is done (52+ / 0-)

    Wakefield's study has, unfortunately, already done extensive damage to public health.  

    Jenny McCarthy is now considered a more reliable source of medical information and advice on autism than researchers and doctors.  The faithful won't see this as discrediting his research, but as a personal attack on Wakefield for daring to tell the truth.  Meanwhile, deaths and disability from highly preventable childhood illnesses will increase.

    The man deserves far worse than the lost of his medical license.

  •  'science often falls short' (5+ / 0-)

    even for those who aren't looking for over-simplicity.  Hopefully, time will allow us to comprehend more.

    "Trust me, after taxes, a million dollars is not a lot of money." --Michael Steele

    by MsGrin on Mon May 24, 2010 at 06:54:48 AM PDT

  •  Now we need to slap down McCarthy in the same (12+ / 0-)

    manner.

    Get her to withdraw her statement.

    Get her to apologize for the harm her other statements can/could/did cause.

    Get her to repudiate Wakefield.

    ON VIDEO.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    -Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Mon May 24, 2010 at 06:55:07 AM PDT

    •  Mmmm..."slap down" isn't the right approach, imo (19+ / 0-)

      how about understanding why the Wakefield thing took hold among so many parents, pointing out the flaws in the science but giving some support to folks who are just looking to do right by their kids?

      "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

      by grannyhelen on Mon May 24, 2010 at 06:57:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You have to give Jenny a bit of a pass. (16+ / 0-)

      After all she does have a child who is autism spectrum. It is not her fault that she grasped at a straw in a tough time in her life.

      I would love to have her back down and change her stance, but we need to do it with understanding not anger. After all she is not a trained scientist like Wakefield.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 06:59:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But she decide to use that child as a prop (21+ / 0-)

        to further her agenda (or is she so callous that it to further her career?). She has become a media darling and despite not having a science background she openly mocks science and rallies around this quack. She is the face of the vaxer movement, she does need to apologize for it. It's about the only thing that'll have any chance of taking the steam out of it.

        Wal*Mart isn't the root of all evil but you can buy the plastic, cadmium-tainted, Chinese knock-off of it there for $4.27

        by ontheleftcoast on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:13:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  She is in a position to fix it. And she bears (9+ / 0-)

        responsibility, if not CULPABILITY for promulgating this even after it was debunked.

        Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
        I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
        -Spike Milligan

        by polecat on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:19:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The tiny little pass I might give her (20+ / 0-)

        expired long, long ago.  I have an autistic kid, and I firmly believe that having a kid with a disability doesn't give you license to take leave of your rationality.  Yes, it's a drag to get a diagnosis, and yes it's normal to look for someone/something to blame BUT there are science-backed steps you can take to help your kid and after you have a good cry to need to get about the business of doing them.  She's caused far too much harm to get a pass, I think.

      •  I can't agree. (14+ / 0-)

        Your sentiment is admirable - give Jenny a pass - but we all have tragic, unexplained circumstances in our lives that require us to use our rational minds before jumping into the deep end of the pseudoscience pool.

        There is nothing forgivable about her actions. She learned just enough to be dangerous, influnced a lot of gullible parents, caused preventable illnesses and deaths, and has still refused to modify her stand even in the face of mountains of evidence refuting her public statements.

        "Tea Bagger politics is a politics of simplistic and hostile assertion"...Dr. Robert Letcher

        by Giles Goat Boy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:46:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, that is why I said a bit of a pass (5+ / 0-)

          instead of a full pass. She could have gone out and found out the real facts, but she didn't because of the emotional component of her involvement.

          It could happen to any of us, so we should not be as harsh on her as Wakefield. Which is not to say that she does not deserve to be criticized.

          Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

          by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:53:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Right (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gailwax, StrangeAnimals, pinkomommy, yaque

          Your sentiment is admirable - give Jenny a pass - but we all have tragic, unexplained circumstances in our lives that require us to use our rational minds before jumping into the deep end of the pseudoscience pool.

          On top of that, the victims are often not the ones who are really behind the denial movement.  Often they are just recruited by some ideological crackpots, who take advantage of their tragedy and milk them for attention.  Somebody filled the pool for the parents to jump in.

          McCarthy is now one of the promoters of the movement; she is a fooler rather than a foolee.

      •  I think we'll eventually look back on this all (0+ / 0-)

        and realize how it all reflects Western culture/lifestyle of the present and the peculiarly complementary nature of autism to it.  I.e. the historical emerging of mental illness as the core social and material problem because it has become somewhat technologically tractable and all our other large scale problems (material scarcity, violent historical scores that need settling, excessive hierarchy, lack of good education, lack of physical health, accepting people who differ in race and gender as normal/sane) have become tractable to the point of reducing in severity rather fast.  Mental illness is increasingly the limitation on our social wellbeing.  (If you read social reactionary, er, "conservative" websites for long and you have an eye/ear for it, it's hard not to conclude that it's to a large extent driven by people who adopt or are trying to normalize a manic-depressive take and its behaviors on society.  They have a zero sum approach to e.g. themselves versus gay people about being accepted as sane by mainstream society.)

        I think your diary should be modified to explaining that Wakefield has gotten banned not for bad science or conspiratorial behavior and careerism but for unethical behavior as a doctor, i.e. obtaining samples for his studies (sic) under fraudulent and abusive circumstances.  That is fairly reflective of the troubled and easily corrupted nature of the doctor-researcher combination at present, vaunted as it is but at a point in medical history of high intellectual embarrassment that all this hardcore biology and high investment in DNA-based research isn't translating to understanding and unraveling the prominent diseases.  (In short, the researchers are not smart enough people.  I speak as one, btw.)  That Wakefield was a poor scientist does not come as news to hardcore biologists or generally to people who know that the practice of medicine is essentially softcore, scientifically speaking (for understandable utilitarian reasons).  That he didn't even stick to the minimal baseline, i.e. Hippocratic Oath, in spirit is what he's losing his license for.  

        Autism is so controversial because it's hitting the weak spot in contemporary Western life.  We're in the midst of a lot of complexity, of a lot of transitions in social and economic and political life and an awful lot of different material things.  That's enough to deal with; we wish it would all simplify fast (because it will all resimplify) but we'd rather not make all the distinctions and don't have the time to make them well.

        What Jenny McCarthy reflects about autism IMHO is its familial- genetic- correlation with other mental disorders of the tic disorder spectrum.  A lot of the bizarreness and tenacity and bitterness and pseudoscientific meanderings of the argument about genesis and treatment of autism becomes understandable if you come to realize that a large proportion of the militant parents of autistic children might be to a surprising degree undiagnosed e.g. manic-depressive people.

        These people are confused and wrong about many things, of course.  But they do clamor and direct us at the vaccination coincidence and clusterings of autism and the highly disparate anecdotal claims of diet induced regressions and reversions.  These are small in real number, and weird, but do seem to generate often enough to have some basis that requires an explanation.  I was one to discount them for a long time, but the recent linkage of ADHD symptoms with glyphosate (an amino acid analog used as herbicide) seems to me telling.  Autism, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and the rest of the tic disorder spectrum disorders link in having some sort of dopaminergic neuron troubles.  Bipolar disease seems even to correlate somewhat with pale skin color, i.e. deficiency of tyrosine/melatonin uptake by skin cells (tyrosine being the basis of dopamine).  A proportion of kids with genetic predisposition to bipolar disorder inherited from one parent are then probably subtly deficient in some form(s) or regulation of neuronal tyrosine uptake/reuptake, supply levels, and metabolism.

        This is probably all too heterogenic for the gene hunters and neurochemists to find deductively.  But it suggests- inductively- that a proportion of these children of bipolar or mildly bipolar parents who are carry the genetic susceptibility might just be really sensitive- susceptible to the point of poisoning- to the otherwise small levels of inhibition of labile dopaminergic pathway functions.  This would most likely be by certain kinds of amino acid analogs, metabolites, or denatured amino acids, or some other small molecules.  It would also lead to the greatest effects at sensitive points in neuronal development.  For these children gut neurons would be generally exposed to higher concentrations of these often (to them individually) net poisons from food.  (Say, glyphosate residue.)  For others some denatured amino acids of the viral protein in vaccine injections straight into bloodstream might mean kinds and levels of metabolites they can't bear.  Which then leads to temporary neuronal dysfunction and thus signal-dependent developmental errors in e.g. neuronal branching or enormously sickens/kills a subset of dopaminergic neurons, and voilá, autism.

        In short, the Wakefield episode is a moral and social horror.  But the science might eventually lead to a fairly sympathetic interpretation of Wakefield's recognitions and the errors he made in trying to fit them to existing (and themselves defective) models of the symptoms of autism.  He may have been on to something correct initially though he went sadly wrong in the middle and clung to the error to the end.  Which is maybe the most common storyline of scientific careers, and an almost inevitable occurence in those scientific frontiers where there is a lot of social attention....

        And it all then folds into the story of our times, of mental disorders becoming an increasingly collective matter and constraint on our collective wellbeing rather than the individualized, semi-hidden and privately kept sorrow.

        **And yes, you can send me my share of the relevant Nobel prize at P.O. box 15443, Somewhere, SomeState 66666, U.S.A.  Thanks very much.

  •  When science figures out what the hell is going (8+ / 0-)

    with these kids, Wakefield will become a vague memory.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Mon May 24, 2010 at 06:57:33 AM PDT

    •  Maybe, but vague fears about vaccines w (15+ / 0-)

      will still keep some parents from vaccinating their children. That is the really long lasting damage this asshat has done.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:04:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In my opinion, the reasons that people are (14+ / 0-)

        nervous about vaccines goes far beyond what Wakefield did.  

        Go to a pediatrician's office and express even a small amount of hesitancy about, not the vaccines themselves, but the schedule.  (Isn't a little much?  Do we really need to do five at once on my two month old?) and many pediatricians react with scorn and derision, instead of explaining and/or being flexible.

        You can't blame that on Wakefield.

        I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

        by coquiero on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:11:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes you can. (9+ / 0-)

          The anti vaccine movement got a big boost with Wakefield, and that moved from the MMR to the schedule when MMR was disproved. But it still stems a lot from his work. Pediatricians should listen, but they're probably tired of dealing with the fallout from the anti vaccine line.

        •  You need a new pediatrician (18+ / 0-)

          When my son was small, we asked the prediatrician to use the killed polio vaccine for his first shot in the sequence. She told us we worried too much, despite the fact that we had information from reputable sources that this was (slightly) safer than using the "live" vaccine for all the shots. (I think the protocol has now changed to reflect this. In other words, we were right.)

          We found a new doctor and have been very pleased. He's old-school but slightly wary of new drugs/procedures until they have a decent track record. When the chicken pox vaccine was brand new in this country, he advised us to wait because they didn't know yet if the vaccine would work only temporarily, perhaps exposing our kids to the disease in adulthood when it would be much more dangerous.

          He has since seen enough evidence to start using the vaccine on his young patients. Evidence-based medicine. Awesome.

          "Tea Bagger politics is a politics of simplistic and hostile assertion"...Dr. Robert Letcher

          by Giles Goat Boy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:05:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Way to go! (5+ / 0-)

            It can be hard to stand up to a doctor though, especially for new first time parents.

            Many parents take birthing classes. Few take parenting or child development classes.

            And those classes certainly aren't offered with the ease of birthing classes. They aren't advertised in hospital elevators.

            Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

            by ZenTrainer on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:17:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The vaccine schedule for polio was changed (2+ / 0-)

            because of the increased number of immunocompromised people in our society. There was always a risk that with the attenuated live virus vaccine that one of the strains could revert to wild type, but the bigger risk of that was not to the vaccinated child but to someone with an impaired immune system who would come into contact with the vaccinated child.

            The live virus vaccine remains more effective; we are lucky to have a well-immunized population so that the killed vaccine renders enough group immunity. But if we start having more and more unimmunized children, we will see the problems of the killed virus vaccine.

            As for the varicella vaccine, it was, in fact, initially not as effective as expected in the first cohort of vaccinated kids. My now 14 year old daughter was among the first to be immunized; in a neighborhood school, when she was in middle school, there was an outbreak of chicken pox in her grade that included immunized children. There is now a recommendation for a booster for that vaccine. Based on the evidence.

            What your doc has, though, is "experience." The "evidence" is in the group studies. Experience is important but cannot supplant evidence; both are critical.

            Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

            by stitchmd on Mon May 24, 2010 at 02:09:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  He has both. (0+ / 0-)

              His current recommendations are based on the published evidence - not just the experience from his own practice. I've talked to him about it.

              "Tea Bagger politics is a politics of simplistic and hostile assertion"...Dr. Robert Letcher

              by Giles Goat Boy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 07:12:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Insurance and complaining parents contribute (8+ / 0-)
          1. Insurance companies don't want to pay for 5 visits for 5 separate vaccines Now 5 visits, to me, a PhD Pharmacist, makes total sense in order to see how a child reacts to each vaccine.
          1. Parents will complain if they had to make 5 trips to the pediatrician. Some of their complaints are valid in regards to getting off work, but mostly just whining.

          F the right wing whiners. I don't care about them any more they can all F themselves for all I care.

          by UndercoverRxer on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:12:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, if a parent is asking for them (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            milton333, ZenTrainer, wa ma

            separately, then they most likely aren't going to "complain" and "whine" if they have to make separate visits to get separate vaccines.  

            Sounds to me like you're the one whining.

            I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

            by coquiero on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:21:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you for this reasonable assertion. (5+ / 0-)

            My friend's 16 month old has been chronically ill with a cold or flu after each set of vaccinations. Her first nine months of life were all snuffles and runny eyes and nose.

            She would recover right before the next set of vaccines, then, after each set, her health would decline.

            It seems reasonable to be more cautious in introducing potential allergens into a very young baby than most drug companies and medical practices are recommending at present. I spaced out vaccinations with my son. He never had the reactions I saw in other babies, and was and is very healthy.

            •  She also (6+ / 0-)

              Was in a pediatrician's office for the vaccinations, with sick kids and germs.

              I wouldn't bet on the vaccines being the cause.  I don't know if its the case, but if she was born in the summer, that six-nine months would also have been in the middle of cold/flu season.

              Progressive -> Progress; Conservative -> Con

              by nightsweat on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:55:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  She was born in the fall, and was in an office (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                martini, wa ma

                with a small practice. Her older brothers had their vaccinations spread out over a longer period of time, and didn't have her reactions.

                •  "Reaction" is unproven (4+ / 0-)

                  The word "reaction" implies that it was in response to something.  While obviously it could mean a response to anything, the wording here implies that it's related to the vaccines.

                  The sample size here is simply too small to draw a valid conclusion of any kind.

                  •  exactly. most little kids spend (subjective time (5+ / 0-)

                    here) MOST of their 1st 5 years with runny noses and colds. Mine did. It starts at 6 months, when their mothers' antibodies, which they acquire through the placenta into their own circulations, disappear.

                    Then it's open season for every germ that comes by, including those that one encounters at the pediatrician's office.

                    Wakefield is a crook and a hack at whose doorstep (along with JM) should be laid the blame for all the kids who die or suffer severe illness and disability from contagious diseases that are preventable by vaccination. That applies both to those not vaccinated and those who ARE vaccinated by who catch it anyway because of contact with non-vac'd kids. Don't forget that the "personal" decision not to get your kids' shots places everyone's kids at risk!

                    My father's kid brother died around 1920 from diphtheria, and uncle I never knew. He was 6. It was all too common.

                    Today, not so much.

                    Vaccines are the most important public health development in the history of medicine.

                    Get your shots, and make sure your kids get theirs. No nail-biting, no irrational fears, and don't let your friends vacillate - vaccinate!

                    Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

                    by p gorden lippy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:48:44 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Seems to me you are using fear. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      4Freedom, coquiero

                      To promote vaccines. Pot calling the kettle black.

                      What I do not understand is this mistrust of the American People. Why is it nearly impossible for the average american to understand what is in the vaccines. Why are we using vastly dated technology.

                      And, why does the CDC both promote and approve the safety of vaccines. They should be two seperate organizations.

                      I trust only open debate and fully open regulation.

                      •  FDA approves the safety. (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        stitchmd, p gorden lippy, yaque

                        Not CDC.

                      •  if you're not afraid that your child or (3+ / 0-)

                        someone else's could suffer and die from preventable diseases, then I don't know what could scare you.

                        These are, indeed, scary things. Things so scary that generations of scientists and doctors have devoted their careers to defeating them. And have - incredibly - often succeeded at it. So scary that some of our most ancient literature concerns epidemics that lay waste to civilizations.

                        The way to make them not scary is to have a couple of generations exempt from them due to the diligent application of public health principles - exempt enough that some people become blase and think the thoroughly disproven fear that a kid might become autistic outweighs their responsibility to their own and to other peoples' kids.

                        The problem with the kind of disinformation about vaccines is that it's not a matter of majority wins.

                        If enough people don't get vaccinated, then the whole population becomes at risk again.

                        Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

                        by p gorden lippy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 12:06:05 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  There are things worth fearing for rational... (5+ / 0-)

                        reasons, and worth not fearing.

                        Science is a display of humility in the face of mankinds imperfect, though powerful ability to reason.  It says, okay, let's be creative thinking up explanations for why things are the way they are, but let's also put our theories to reliable test so we're not simply building theoretical castles in the sky, but actually dealing with explanations grounded in the reality they're supposed to describe.

                        The Vaccine furor, until it passes that kind of test, is pseudo-science, and the potential ought not to be feared until somebody proves there's actually something to be feared.

                        The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

                        by Stephen Daugherty on Mon May 24, 2010 at 12:09:08 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  There are very good reasons for this! (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        StrangeAnimals

                        There are very good reasons to promote vaccinations.  Take a look at the Wikipedia article on measles to see why -- a disease that typically affected 500,000 people annually, killing 1500 -- was all but eliminated in the mid 1960's.  Or polio, which in a 1952 epidemic killed 3000 and left 21000 with some degree of paralysis.  Or smallpox, which smallpox, which is believed to have killed 300-500 million people in the 20th century alone and 2 million as late as 1967.  Are those statements using fear to promote vaccination?  You could say so, but those seem pretty good reasons.

                        The ingredients in vaccines aren't particularly secret, but they do require some amount of knowledge to understand.  "Common sense" alone isn't enough.

                •  How old are the older brothers? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  StrangeAnimals

                  pre-school and elementary aged children are notorious carriers of viruses even when they themselves are not ill. They could be the vectors.

                  There are lots of potential reasons for this child to have had congestion. That is a very, very uncommon reaction to most of the vaccines, particularly the non-respiratory ones. Fever and malaise are more common but not usually accompanied by respiratory symptoms.

                  I would agree with those who suggest that there may be an alternate explanation.

                  Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

                  by stitchmd on Mon May 24, 2010 at 02:14:54 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  It is well established you do not vaccinate sick (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Concern Troll

              It is well established you do not vaccinate sick children. Their immune system is already in hyper drive. This is something the pediatrician should know.

              But, alas, who are we to question.

              •  You can ask the question... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                StrangeAnimals, yaque

                ...question is, can you understand the answer?  Or are you just going to respond with this belief in folk knowledge, which takes the fallible personal experience of the world, and puts it up on a pedestal?

                There's a reason it took us thousands of years to get to the level we were at when the nation was founded, but only two hundred years to get to where we are now.

                The people who do science aren't better than us, but often better informed, and better trained in how to understand the situation.  Faux-populist sentiments aside, it is possible for people to earn expertise beyond that of the average person, and it should not be disrespected casually, at least by a civilization that wants to remain standing.  Yes, they can be mistaken, but unless you understand the nature of their mistakes, you may only be adding your own error to yours, and doing no good for the situation.

                The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

                by Stephen Daugherty on Mon May 24, 2010 at 12:15:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If you are interested in science. (0+ / 0-)

                  Why will you not support the scientific study comparing fully vaccinated to fully unvaccinated children?

                  A bill to do this has been introduced twice on Congress. And, it only costs a few million dollars. Instead, of passing, billions upon billions are spent on treatment.

                  We clearly do not have all the facts. How could we, we have not ever done the most basic of studies.

        •  What's the issue with 5 at once? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yaque

          "Isn't it a little much" assumes up front that there's something harmful.  What exactly is the issue with giving 5 at once, anyway?  "Isn't it a little much" isn't an answer -- what is the hypothesized problem with it?

          •  5 at once may Overstimulate the Immune system. (0+ / 0-)

            Here is what you need to know.

            1. Vaccines are injected into muscle tissue.
            1. There are no antigen presenting cells in muscle tissue.
            1. The antigen presenting cells must migrate to the tissue to register the antigen.
            1. To summon the antigen presenting cells you must stimulate (irritate) the immune system.
            1. An over stimulated immune system can self register, and cause autu immunity.
            1. Children are having an epidemic of auto-immunity.
            1. Autism may well be auto immunity related.
            •  Fine. Prove it. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              StrangeAnimals

              You're making a lot of assertions here -- 5 at once "may" overstimulate the immune system, an overstimulated immune system "can" self-register, and cause auto-immunity, autism "may well be" autoimmunity-related -- without providing any evidence supporting any of these (not to mention "children are having an epidemic of autoimmunity", which is more of a factual statement that needs to be put to the test).

              If you're proposing a theory, it's your responsibility to support it with evidence, not everyone else's responsibility to shoot it down.

    •  Exactly (4+ / 0-)

      When science figures out what the hell is going with these kids, Wakefield will become a vague memory.

      It has always puzzled me why the pro-vaccine crowd spends so much energy vilifying Wakefield (and anyone who questions the US vaccine protocol) ans so little energy (in comparison) trying to figure out what has caused the rise in autism.

      Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

      by ZenTrainer on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:11:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, because there is real harm (17+ / 0-)

        if there are not enough people vaccinated. If you have 90% or so of the population vaccinated that chance of a out break of any illness vaccinated for goes way down. That means the people who chose not to vaccinate get a free ride on those who do.

        The issue is that this supposed link between autism and MMR has caused the numbers of unvaccinated kids to rise dramatically. It has exposed an entire generation to risks that did not exist for kids just 10 years older.

        Mumps, measles and rubella are no joke. They can kill and they can permanently damage the body. To have the risk of this raised for everyone because of bad science is a serious one and needs to be treated that way.

        Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

        by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:15:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Because his cult detracts from what you say (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        madmsf, codeman38, pinkomommy, yaque

        you want

        trying to figure out what has caused the rise in autism

        If "you" can point a finger at the vaccine, you don't have to worry about cleaning up the water pollution in your town, much easier. And a better investment in the eyes of the corporate plutocracy.

        And it's easier to blame the boogie boogie vaccine than perhaps your own genetics, or exposing your developing fetus to all kinds of crap during pregnancy.

        F the right wing whiners. I don't care about them any more they can all F themselves for all I care.

        by UndercoverRxer on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:15:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And so blame the parents because the default (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wa ma, coquiero

          that helps.

          •  No, not the parents. The plutocracy that allows (5+ / 0-)

            the pollution of our food and water to increase profits. Blame was a bad choice of words for genetics. I should have used the word acknowledge.

            One thing that's causing the rise is actually a sort of good thing. Kids with milder ends of the spectrum are able to function in society, tend to meet similar kids, and end up passing along the genetic components of autism now where 50 yrs ago they would not have.

            F the right wing whiners. I don't care about them any more they can all F themselves for all I care.

            by UndercoverRxer on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:20:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Except those that are wary of vaccines, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tacet, coquiero

          including Jenny McCarthy, all think there are other factors involved in autism as well and wonder why they aren't being studied more.

          I know several sets of people (here in the states) who are fairly anti-vaccine. The first are the hippies from the 60's. They were not and are not influenced by Wakefield.

          The second are the Amish, who may not even know who Wakefield is.

          The third is the new generation of parents being confronted with more vaccines than ever before. This is the group that has been influenced by Wakefield but it's not their only influence.

          Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

          by ZenTrainer on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:25:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The two are not mutually exclusive (4+ / 0-)

        Indeed, the damage Wakefield has done is quite real, and it must be challenged for the better health of all.

        Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

        by tcorse on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:23:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Is there even proof of an increase in autism? (4+ / 0-)

        Autism isn't a clearly defined condition with specific, objective criteria that are both easy to identify and easy to diagnose.  It's easy, for example, to determine whether someone has measles.  But the criteria -- indeed, the very definition -- has changed over time.  Furthermore, the term is being used for a very wide spectrum of mental conditions -- I won't even use the word "disorders", because I find it very hard to describe Temple Grandin, say, as having a disorder -- with very different outcomes.

        (If you're unfamiliar with Temple Grandin, she is a famous livestock engineer who has become a spokesperson for autism, because she herself is ASD.  She has done a lot of research establishing that animal cognition is a good model for that of ASD, which has made her particularly effective professionally.  She has written a number of books on autism.)

        Asperger syndrome has only recently become "popular" as a diagnosis.  A lot of people with Asperger would previously have been considered a bit unusual, or nerdy.  If these people are now classified as having Asperger syndrome -- considered to be part of the autistic spectrum -- it's hardly a surprise that the number of people diagnosed with autism has increased.

        In regards the pro-vaccine people investigating any rise in autism, that simply isn't their job.  Infectious disease specialists aren't generally people who investigate brain function and vice versa.  With seemingly conclusive evidence that there's no relationship between vaccinations and autism (and no evidence that I'm aware of that infectious disease is related to autism), why would infectious disease specialists spend any time studying autism?

        The pro-vaccination people are not happy with Dr. Wakefield for very good reason: his work has resulted in large numbers of children not receiving vaccinations that protect both them and the surrounding community against serious diseases that are easily defeated with vaccination.  Read the downcomments about herd immunity.

        •  there's definitely a far higher rate of diagnosis (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gailwax, StrangeAnimals, yaque

          but diagnosis does not equal incidence. One of the factors that's usually overlooked when you hear teachers, parents etc. say "it must be increasing because we didn;t hae all these autistic kids around when I was young" is that yes, they're right--you didn't. They were routinely institutionalised and sent to special schools. Families kept them hidden. And they didn't get a diagnosis of anything but "mental retardation" or "brain damage."

          Political Compass says: -8.88, -8.67
          "We never sold out cos no one would buy."--J Neo Marvin

          by expatyank on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:54:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There is a clear immune component to many ASDs (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wa ma

          Intestinal problems, food intolerances, allergies, etc are all very common in kids with ASDs.

          •  But no more common than in (0+ / 0-)

            kids without ASDs. The most recent studies show that kids with ASDs have a higher rate of constipation and picky eating, but not of other GI problems. Of course GI problems in kids are quite common, so plainly a lot of ASD kids will have them just by coincidence. And it's true that a GI problem in a kid who can't communicate well can cause hard-to-explain behavior changes, so dealing with it can result in improvements that might be mistaken for the kid "becoming less autistic." And it's also unfortunate that when a kid is autistic, medical professionals who really should know better will interpret every problem the kid is having as an aspect of his autism (my mother had a stroke 2.5 years ago; since then, my father and I have been tearing our hair out at the too many doctors and therapists who attribute any problem she experiences to it, including problems that were apparent long before the stroke and ones that emerged long after it).

            If Nixon was cocaine for the resentful psyche, Palin is meth—Andrew Sullivan

            by ebohlman on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:51:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The consensus among the experts is that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coquiero

          there is a true increase.  Dr. Thomas Insel is the director of the National Institute of Mental Health which is part of the National Institutes of Health.  He is also the chairman of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.

          Here is a link to a talk with slides he gave recently.  Check it out starting at about minute 26.  He talks about diagnostic substitution and then the next slide at about minute 27-30 is about the increase in prevalence from 1 in 1500 in 1992 to 1 in 150 in 2002 to 1 in 110 in 2006.

          He says the burden of proof is on someone who doesn't believe there is a real increase.

          Autism: What do we know? What do we need?

    •  I agree. The vax issue has sucked so much O2 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      codeman38, coquiero

      from the room that once you push all of that aside there is ............. nothing left.

      In many ways this has become a huge distraction and a straw man argument for both "sides".

    •  I think it's artificial sweetners (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pinkomommy

      and pollution combined.

  •  Unfortunately (11+ / 0-)

    I fear that his fate may lead to his most devout celebrity and daytime TV and internet fueled followers becoming even more hardline in their beliefs in the claims he made, seeing him as a martyr or a victim of "they don't want you to know the truth" rather than somebody whose claims have been debunked.

    I feel very sorry for Jenny McCarthy, and I wish the best for her child, but she did a lot of harm over the last few years with her crusade.

  •  This is almost proof for me (5+ / 0-)

    that there's a God and it's a nice diety! >:)

    (operative word is almost.)

    black kos tue-fri/ sistahspeak fri/wglb fri/c&j daily!

    by terrypinder on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:21:27 AM PDT

  •  On certain emotional subjects... (7+ / 0-)

    science does not seem to be an adequate tool to convince people of reality.  The belief in a causal relationship between oral contraceptives and breast cancer has survived quite a bit of science that fails to find the connection.  One could find numerous other examples.  This one just has more consequences than others, in that it leads to not getting kids vaccinated

    "I was asked what I thought of the mainstream media. I said I thought it would be a good idea" - Amy Goodman.

    by Chico David RN on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:22:04 AM PDT

    •  It's partially because medicine is based on (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      renska, BachFan, codeman38, coquiero, yaque

      science, but is not a science. It's also because modern medicine is not faultless, there have been enough errors in preliminary assessments of drugs or treatments, later found to be injurious or deadly to make people skeptical when an expert says "no risk". There is also a portion of the population ready and willing to believe "everything you know is wrong".

      This guy has built quite a career making people afraid of vaccines, we'll have to revisit some diseases that have been more or less vanquished to see a return to reality among a portion of the population.

      "Nothing is so complex and fucked up that engineers cannot make it more complicated and fuck it up worse." - Fishgrease

      by the fan man on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:19:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I totally agree with this. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        codeman38, coquiero

        It's also because modern medicine is not faultless, there have been enough errors in preliminary assessments of drugs or treatments, later found to be injurious or deadly to make people skeptical when an expert says "no risk".

        Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

        by ZenTrainer on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:36:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The BCP breast cancer example is a good one (3+ / 0-)

      Yes, pills may not cause breast cancer but there IS a strong assocation between delaying childbearing and the risk of developing creast cancer. And pills are the most common method women use to delay childbearing. So the association between pills and cancer has some validity despite a lack of causation.  

      Things are rarely a binary "yes" "no".

    •  Premarin is still being used for birth control. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZenTrainer, codeman38

      It comes from pregnant mares who live in confined spaces and whose foals seldom have a good end.

      Further, considering the genetic differences between horses, at over half a ton, and humans, the introduction of hormones from horse to human might pose a basic incompatibility.  

      The Mayo Clinic scoffs at the alternative, bioidentical hormone therapy, but offers no substantial criticism. There are, of course, other sources that cite this approach as safer.

      I tend to do my own research and draw my own conclusions, because reports on drugs can vary greatly, depending on the source.

    •  What else I find interesting about breast cancer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      martini, coquiero

      is that patient advocacy groups have been an enormous force and have successfully changed both research and treatment of breast cancer for the better. Of course, in the breast cancer research world, these patients are respected and even a little feared. Unlike parents of ASD kids who are ridiculed, blamed, and judged.

      •  On what basis do you conclude (5+ / 0-)

        that parents of ASD kids are generally ridiculed, blames and judged?  Maybe there are some idiots out there, but they are easy to ignore.  The problem with the anti-vaccine faction in autism is that they have degraded health outcomes, not improved them.

        Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

        by aravir on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:12:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  historically, they were absolutely blamed (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wa ma, TexasLiz, yaque

          Literally blamed. You are not familiar with the "Refrigerator Mother" theory of autism, which held sway from the 40s through the 80s? Thanks to that nonsense, pushed and believed by mainstream psychology, we had very little actual research into autism for 40 years.

          As the parent of an autistic son born in 1990, the same year Bettelheim finally killed himself, I can tell you it takes a looong time for these ideas to die. We have run into professionals who still believed autism was caused by bad parents. I can name a few who are still out there practicing--like Britain's favourite pop psychiatrist, Oliver James.

          There has been ample recent research into the experience of blame, judgement and stigma by parents of children with autism. That's where the "circle the wagons" mentality comes from.

          Political Compass says: -8.88, -8.67
          "We never sold out cos no one would buy."--J Neo Marvin

          by expatyank on Mon May 24, 2010 at 12:00:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Two words - Referigerator mom. (0+ / 0-)
        •  Nowadays this takes the form of people believing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pinkomommy, coquiero

          that mothers are so eager to slap a label on their kids that they are doctor shopping and seeking out diagnoses for their "quirky" or "nerdy" kids.  Supposedly these kids don't have real struggles and challenges but simply neurotic mothers who see odd behavior as pathological.  I think they believe these mothers just want attention and some sort of extra services and perks for their kids.

          I guess this is a more PC way of blaming the mothers.

          This infuriates me because it seems like an attempt to diminish and trivialize the difficulties faced by children and families dealing with autism.

          Maybe this is some sort of defense mechanism for people. I suppose this way they can feel absolved from any responsibility for doing their part to make sure children with autism get the education and health care and resources they need and deserve.

  •  We'll be suffering for decades from this guy (11+ / 0-)

    what a dreadful situation.  

    Thanks for the update.

    The recent legislation in Arizona threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans. --B. Obama

    by mem from somerville on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:27:47 AM PDT

    •  Thankfully, for most of the kids of the paranoid (4+ / 0-)

      …they will be helped by our population immunity. Hopefully the next generation of parents won't be so fast to toss vaccines aside.

      •  Yeah, but in places like Britain where (2+ / 0-)

        the immunization rate is down to 61% that herd immunity is compromised as well.

        Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

        by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:51:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have to say one of the great things (8+ / 0-)

          about the Brits is that I think their national health system requires them to rely on science--to be good stewards of the tax dollars they need to get to the best evidence-based medicine. This has clarified that.

          One of the best things I saw recently in medicine came from there:
          Homeopathy is witchcraft, say doctors

          I hope this means the best science will rule.  

          The recent legislation in Arizona threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans. --B. Obama

          by mem from somerville on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:54:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  TOTALLY bogus quackery= homeopathy (8+ / 0-)

            For the supposed active ingredient for Oscillococcinum which is duck liver, you only need 1 for the entire amount produced in the world each year. Diluted into the entire observable Universe.

            A popular homeopathic treatment for the flu is a 200C dilution of duck liver, marketed under the name Oscillococcinum. As there are only about 10 80th power atoms in the entire observable universe, a dilution of one molecule in the observable universe would be about 40C. Oscillococcinum would thus require 10 320th power more universes to simply have one molecule in the final substance

            F the right wing whiners. I don't care about them any more they can all F themselves for all I care.

            by UndercoverRxer on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:01:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Great homeopathic ER sketch. (4+ / 0-)

              Progressive -> Progress; Conservative -> Con

              by nightsweat on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:57:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Those who haven't used homeopathy often hold (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              martini

              these views. Homeopathy, the medicine of the Queen of England who can afford any medicine she chooses, is efficacious if used by a competent practitioner.

              Homeopathy deniers seem to have no comprehension of the mind-body connection or an understanding of the human bioenergetic field. They will never understand how a substance as dilute as Apis 30X can help prevent bug bites. This may not be carrying science far enough.

              Biting insects ability to detect odors is extraordinary in many species. The hyper-dilute preparation of bee venom or Apis fools biting insects into thinking it is a bee they are smelling, not prey.

              The order of magnitude in the sense of smell between biting insects and humans is great. Homeopathy uses this difference to great advantage with Apis.

              •  you dont get it. (11+ / 0-)

                These dilutions are so small that there might be 1 molecule in an olympic sized swimming pool. That's not going to be picked up by an insect.

                Human bioenergetic field? Oh right, where's the science on that?

                I'm a scientist, not a teller of fables. Get back to me with some good studies and we can talk.

                F the right wing whiners. I don't care about them any more they can all F themselves for all I care.

                by UndercoverRxer on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:11:08 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You don't definitely don't get it. (0+ / 0-)

                  It is apparent you haven't tried homeopathy, or you would have a different take, especially if you have anything to do with the medical profession. The best homeopaths I know are MDs, many of whom prefer the safe, effective homeopathic treatments to conventional medicines.

                  However, if you don't understand homeopathy and take the wrong preparation, there can be an "aggravation of symptoms". Then the power of the tiny doses becomes self-evident.

                  In homeopathy, the active ingredient(s) do NOT have a chemical reaction on the body, unlike a pharmaceutical preparation. They are meant to stimulate the ultra-sensitive natural immunologic response of the body.

                  Bioenergetics is an emerging field. There is plenty of science being undertaken in this area.

                  If your inclination is to fill your body with chemicals vouchsafed by the pharmaceutical industry, then by all means ignore the research, dismiss the efficacy of homeopathy, and suffer the consequences of a closed mind.

                  Like other medicines, homeopathy doesn't work for everyone under all conditions. Just because it doesn't work universally doesn't mean it's quack medicine or a placebo effect. Very few modern pharmacological substances are statistically much more effective than the placebo effect, the safest prescription of all.

                  •  Ah... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    UndercoverRxer

                    when the "active ingredients" have been so diluted that it's very unlikely that there's even a single molecule of the original substance left, it's hard to see how there's any physical mechanism that could explain any effect.

                    •  It's OK. (0+ / 0-)

                      You can't expect a rationale answer from some who is desperately trying to convince themselves that they are not being taking in by a con artist.

                      F the right wing whiners. I don't care about them any more they can all F themselves for all I care.

                      by UndercoverRxer on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:33:03 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah, right. (2+ / 0-)

                    Very few modern pharmacological substances are statistically much more effective than the placebo effect, the safest prescription of all.

                    Sorry...you're way out in la la land here. You don't get FDA approval if a medication is no better than plabebo. I'll take my 27 yrs of health care practice and PhD in Pharmaceutical Socioeconomics vs your N=1 experiences. I've seen way too many desperate people taken advantage of by quacks promising magical cures when they have a terminal illness to have any patience with purveyors of such junk.

                    F the right wing whiners. I don't care about them any more they can all F themselves for all I care.

                    by UndercoverRxer on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:36:59 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Over 100,000 iatrogenic deaths occur annually (0+ / 0-)

                      in the practice of conventional medicine. I know of two recent deaths in my immediate circle of friends and acquaintances related to prescription drugs wrongly administered and prescribed. Your science can be deadly, the medicine often poorly administered. There is so much quackery in conventional medicine that I'll take my herbs and nostrums over conventional drugs any day.

                      I'll also take my 50 years of study of natural medicine and my curing myself of near-fatal asthma, myriad allergies, migraines, and a chronic infection that was purported to be incurable, but which I cured, over all that medicine.

                      •  Given the dramatic reduction of mortality (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        UndercoverRxer

                        rates in countries with access to modern medicine vs. those that don't have such access, your bald assertions and spurious anecdotal claims are prima facie absurd.

                        To try and deny the overwhelmingly positive effect of modern medicine for society like you are doing is not just ridiculous, it's irresponsible.  You've moved from advocating  a harmless but useless bit of quackery to repeating false and outright dangerous propaganda made up by the purveyors of snake oil in order to make billions of dollars off of foolish dupes.  

                        I finally put in a signature!

                        by Boris Godunov on Wed May 26, 2010 at 11:21:36 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Many drugs are pure snake oil. Lipitor. Alli. (0+ / 0-)

                          Crestor. Blindness has resulted from male sexual performance drugs. The dangers from drugs and doctors are real and alarming. If it's this stuff you are peddling, the snake oil comes from rattlers and cobras.

                          Much of improved modern health is due to improved cleanliness and sanitation. When health organizations around the world address clean water supplies and personal sanitation, mortality decreases. When the WHO gives a child a small dose of Vitamin A, blindness decreases.

                          There are efficacious and safe drugs. But there is so much misinformation and misuse of drugs that there needs to be an independent, non-industry regulatory body without a revolving door between industry and the FDA. The emergence of MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant drugs is a peril to our population, and in good part the result of the over-use of antibiotics.

                          Safe alternatives need to be sought and used, and they exist. To deny the efficacy of time-tested natural remedies is to condemn our country to a medicine based solely on the biased, industry-funded and industry-critiqued science that backs most drugs.

                          If the FDA required all drug research studies to be viewed, instead of the selectively favorable reports usually presented by the pharmaceutical industry, our drug supply would be much, much safer.

                          Natural alternatives should be given the research funding enjoyed by the drug companies, because there is much to validate. It just needs the research to satisfy the skeptics who don't believe in thousands of years of experiential evidence.

                          •  To claim that mortality rate declines (0+ / 0-)

                            are solely due to sanitation is simply dishonest.  I have a hard time believing you're so badly informed that you would assert such a thing and really believe it.

                            Penicillin?
                            Polio vaccine?
                            Smallpox eradication?
                            AIDS medicine?

                            Those are just a few examples of medicine's advances that have resulted in tangible life-saving and a decline in mortality rates.  This is stuff that has been amply proven in scientific surveys of medical advancements.

                            I've no objection to stricter FDA requirements and a general improvement in their approval procedures.  But this amuses me because stricter requirements on proving the efficacy of medicines would mean homeopathy would be right out.

                            Natural alternatives should be given the research funding enjoyed by the drug companies, because there is much to validate.

                            I'm not opposed to researching anything, but the government shouldn't be obligated to fund any quack theory that comes along under the guise of "natural" alternatives.  It would be unreasonable to expect such a thing.  There has the be a threshold of a body of evidence for efficacy first.  Since the "natural" remedy industry rakes in billions each year, they should be able to fund that themselves.  But there is probably not much interest in funding genuine double-blind studies, because it is already known to them that most of what they peddle doesn't work.

                            Regarding homeopathy, there have been abundant studies done, and they show it doesn't work.  It is another perennial call of the quack to claim that "more research is needed!" as a means to keep hope alive when, in fact, plenty of research has been done, it's just unfavorable to the quack theory.

                            I finally put in a signature!

                            by Boris Godunov on Thu May 27, 2010 at 01:58:02 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  No. (6+ / 0-)

                Just no.

                The recent legislation in Arizona threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans. --B. Obama

                by mem from somerville on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:11:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  It's WATER!!!! (5+ / 0-)

                Homeopathic remedies are WATER.

                Not effective. Anytime anyone claims that something will only be effective "in the right hands", they're scamming you. Separating you from your wallet. Nothing more.

                And as for herbal remedies, I think Dara O'Briain said it correctly -- "they tested them, and the things that worked became MEDICINE. The rest is just a nice bowl of soup and some potpourri."

                The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

                by kmiddle on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:49:08 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  aoeu (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mem from somerville, ebohlman, yaque
                You forgot to add some croutons to the word salad, it's not proper w/o croutons.
              •  How many fallacies of logic here? Off the top... (4+ / 0-)

                ...of my head:

                1. Who the hell made the Queen of England an expert on medicine?  Inappropriate appeal to authority.

                2)

                Homeopathy, the medicine of the Queen of England who can afford any medicine she chooses, is efficacious if used by a competent practitioner.

                You can say that, but can you prove that?  Any fictional magic discipline can be claimed to work, when practiced by a "competent practitioner"  It's a complex question sort of claim.  Until you prove that Homeopathy works, it doesn't matter how competent your practitioner is, since there's nothing that one can be competent in.

                3)

                Homeopathy deniers seem to have no comprehension of the mind-body connection or an understanding of the human bioenergetic field. They will never understand how a substance as dilute as Apis 30X can help prevent bug bites. This may not be carrying science far enough.

                Ad hominem, in that you immediately label and dismiss us, without anything so simple as saying "double blind studies prove those who deny the benefits of homeopathy wrong".

                Wrong on the count that medical folks don't understand the mind-body connection.  That's why many medical studies include placebo sugar pills as controls.  They understand that the very act of thinking you're taking a helpful medication produces positive benefits.  But then, they've found that this effect is interchangeable with just about anything.  Somebody could give you some "Good n Plenty" pills telling you that its an experimental medication, and if you didn't know better, you'd feel better.

                Right on the count that we can't understand it.  The "science" of Homeopathy was founded in the Eighteen hundreds, before the existence of atoms was conclusively proven.  If your notion was that you could dilute something by thirty times and still have something to show for it, in the ghost of a memory of the substance, well then maybe in a time where medical thinking revolved around Galen's four humours, where doctors had already helped George Washington die of bleeding and diarrhea, your placebo might be a welcome alternative.

                But it's still just magic, sympathetic magic: dilute something that causes a bad effect until its likely not there anymore, and it's memory will combat the disease.

                But what's there to understand?  Can you reproduced the bioenergetic field, or does it get disturbed when a person of insufficient faith draws near?

                The important thing to consider here is that you could just give people a sugar pill in these cases, make up some bullshit about it, and not have to go into all that BS about bioenergetic fields, and get as good, or better of an effect.  But if somebody was really sick, even just the placebo trick would be an act of negligence, if there was a treatment or a drug that was scientifically proven to work.  Perhaps the best you could say is that Homeopathic remedies are harmless, except when they're the alternative to treatement that actually works most of the time!

                4)

                Biting insects ability to detect odors is extraordinary in many species. The hyper-dilute preparation of bee venom or Apis fools biting insects into thinking it is a bee they are smelling, not prey.

                It's extraordinary, not supernatural.  a molecule has to hit the receptors.  If the dilution is so great that there isn't enough water in the known universe to hold a single molecule, where are the molecules going to come from to tickle the antennae of ONE bee or wasp, much less all the bees and wasps in question?  If there's just one atom in a volume greater than the known universe, what are the chances that its going to randomly run into that bee, much less its antenna?

                That's the order of magnitude you should concern yourself with first.

                The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

                by Stephen Daugherty on Mon May 24, 2010 at 12:49:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I guess this thread can't be helped. (0+ / 0-)

                  You can't accept that it would not be the single molecule in the preparation that would be in the way like mercury or snake venom (lachesis). The way my son has explained it to others is "vibrational imprint". You can either accept his thesis or not, and you probably won't, but I accept the evidence of those cured using homeopathic preparations.

                  But I didn't do the danged double-blind for yah. It's out there. The "Holistic" name on this site will throw you off, but studies exist.

                  My interest is evidentiary. I tried homeopathy, and, as an empiricist, found it to work in many instances.

                  •  What is a "vibrational imprint"? (0+ / 0-)

                    n/t

                    •  When I was a senior in high school (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Boris Godunov, rlk

                      I batted 50 touchdowns in one basketball game.

                      The above would actually sound impressive to somebody who didn't know anything about sports. Similarly, "vibrational imprint" or "vibrational frequencies" (the latter asserted as a way a father could rape his daughter without actually touching her) sound impressive to someone who doesn't know much about science, as do "flux capacitor" and "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow."

                      There's also the oldie "the square root of orange is turquoise" and James Laidler's contribution "my car gets 30 strawberries to a gallon."

                      Laidler described this sort of language used by promoters of and believers in quackery as "a kind of jargon or pidgin."

                      So the answer to your question is "something about as meaningful as a Sarah Palin speech."

                      If Nixon was cocaine for the resentful psyche, Palin is meth—Andrew Sullivan

                      by ebohlman on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:31:05 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Snake oil is more like it. (0+ / 0-)

                    "Vibrational imprint?"

                    Patent bullshit.  Homeopathy advocates have never been able to explain how such a mechanism could possibly work.  It's simply voodoo pseudoscientific claptrap.

                    You're no different than those gullible suckers who fall for Nigerian money scams, as a scam is all homeopathy is.  Well, there is a difference: the Nigerian scam victims are smart enough to know they've been duped after the fact and raise hell over it.  They don't claim they actually got rich.

                    I suggest you learn what qualifies as "evidence."  Your experience is anecdotal, not empiric.  That fact that some individuals take homeopathic remedies and then [think/claim they] feel better doesn't prove their efficacy.  There are far too many other explanations for that (placebo effect, coincidence, flat-out lying...).

                    Scientific studies of homeopathy have shown it doesn't do squat, except bilk fools from their money.  

                    I finally put in a signature!

                    by Boris Godunov on Tue May 25, 2010 at 12:47:32 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  OK. Explain life. (0+ / 0-)

                      How do you know you are alive? Explain cognition.

                      You, poor BG, lack perspective and intellectual curiosity.

                      Cogito, ergo sum.

                      •  No, I don't. (0+ / 0-)

                        "Intellectual curiousity" is not synonymous with "gullibility."  This is the automatic retreat of those enraptured by pseudoscience.

                        Here's a handy instructive video on genuine open-mindedness.

                        http://www.youtube.com/...

                        Your "questions" are pretty meaningless and don't remotely answer mine asking for even a feasible explanation of this inane "vibrational imprint" idea.  There's no evidence such a thing even exists, so postulating it as an explanation for homeopathy is an absurdly circular argument.

                        You could have called "magick" or "fairy dust," and your explanation would have the same exact validity: none.

                        I finally put in a signature!

                        by Boris Godunov on Wed May 26, 2010 at 12:09:41 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You are pretty vested in your retorts. (0+ / 0-)

                          Science evolves. Your thinking doesn't appear to have that capacity.

                          Much "science" has led to the bad medicine that brought us drugs like Lipitor and Alli. Our children are being medicated with drugs with black box warnings. There are safe, non-drug alternatives to all these conditions, but pseudo-science is killing over 100,000 Americans a year, needlessly.

                          Only an industry shill would cling to their blind faith in the sole efficacy of drugs produced by laboratory science over remedies with thousands of years of usage and hundreds of millions of users. I don't deny that there are miracle drugs that have evolved. But there are other approaches to medicine, that if used in a complementary way, could save lives and money.

                          A substance as simple as turmeric has benefits that can't be patented, so individuals like you make a career of belittling such a simple remedy. If such remedies were patentable, drug companies would do the research, because many such remedies actually work. But when the U.S. research money isn't there, it is only countries like India with a strong indigenous medicine that bother to do the clinical trials beloved by skeptics like yourself. Try some non-American journals. The research is there, not here.

                          You will love to belittle the new research on capsaisin, the active ingredient in hot peppers. There clinical trials underway which have some pretty amazing preliminary conclusions.

                          I will let your research skills uncover them.

                          •  Science evolves, but there is a selective force.. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Boris Godunov

                            ...that you're failing to include in the mix.

                            Much "science" has led to the bad medicine that brought us drugs like Lipitor and Alli.

                            The drugs aren't perfect, but they are effective, and they wouldn't be effective if people didn't understand basic biochemistry.

                            And to be frank, even your homeopathic remedies can kill somebody.  All they need to do to accomplish that feat is to be given to somebody who needs an actual medicine, for whom a placebo effect wont work.

                            Also, those remedies with thousands of years of usage weren't that good.  Otherwise, diseases of different kinds would have been licked long ago and the life expectancy of people raised past thirty or forty years of age.

                            While chemicals in these herbs might do some good, there are also plenty that might not.  There's also plenty that was only alleged to work because of sympathetic magic, because something shared a characteristic.  Folks weren't scientifically observing what worked and what didn't necessarily.

                            The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

                            by Stephen Daugherty on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:37:41 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  How many strawmen in one post? (0+ / 0-)

                            Much "science" has led to the bad medicine that brought us drugs like Lipitor and Alli.

                            All medications can have side effects on certain portions of the population, even "natural" remedies.  So this is an emotional smokescreen.

                            Yes, some drugs have shown to have bad consequences.  But the overwhelming number of pharmaceuticals out there do have the beneficial effects they claim, as rigorous testing has shown.  Vastly more people have been helped by real medicine than harmed.  That it is not perfect is not the point.

                            This is to be contrasted with things like homeopathy, which testing has shown just doesn't work.  Who cares if it's "safe" if it's completely ineffective?

                            Would you like a listing of all the "natural remedies" that have caused harm to people, or been proven to be utter scams?  www.quackery.com

                            I'd wager far more people have been harmed, physically or financially, by quacks shilling "alternative" medicine than by conventional medicine.

                            Only an industry shill would cling to their blind faith in the sole efficacy of drugs produced by laboratory science over remedies with thousands of years of usage and hundreds of millions of users.

                            Ah, the "you must be a shill!" tactic.  Come on, this is one of the most obvious smear tactics available.  No, I don't work for the pharma industry.  If anything, you've demonstrated more reasons for us to assume you are the shill for Big Quackery.  Considering the billions of dollars the alternative medicine industry rakes in every year, trying to play the "Big Pharma Shill!" card is laughable.

                            You will love to belittle the new research on capsaisin, the active ingredient in hot peppers.

                            And here you make assumptions about what I would or wouldn't belittle, erroneously, because of your poor reasoning skills ("He is against homeopathy, so ergo he must be against anything I approve of!").  It's also a silly strawman, as nowhere I have I said I'm opposed to "natural" remedies that are proven to be effective.  That bolded part is the big issue, which you blithely ignore.  If a "natural" substance is shown through rigorous double-blind studies to have a proven beneficial effect, then I'm all for it.  But only a complete idiot (or maybe a "shill" for Big Quackery!) would assert that because some natural remedies are effective, then we should accept any remedy that purports to be effective, whether there is evidence for it or not.

                            You clearly have a big problem with the empiric process and requiring evidence of efficacy for treatments.  Thankfully most doctors don't...

                            I finally put in a signature!

                            by Boris Godunov on Thu May 27, 2010 at 01:47:35 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You offer illogical conclusions again. (0+ / 0-)

                            I in no way asserted that any old naturopathic or homeopathic remedy has validity. Quackery is almost the norm when it comes to either pharma or the nutraceutical industry and money. Unsubstantiated and dangerous claims abound. But the wacky claims made about losing weight with acai aren't as dangerous as the claims made for Accutaine's complexion improvements, nor are the potential side effects as deadly.

                            You don't have the double-blind studies undertaken for more herbs and supplements, as I have cited, due to costs. You can't - yet - patent most of nature. With a reduced financial incentive, many American corporations are on a drive to improve their bottom line, so don't invest in testing herbs and supplements.

                            But the hundreds of millions of people around the world who use natural medicine know it works.

                          •  None of my conclusions were illogical. (0+ / 0-)

                            They were, in fact, completely in line with the facts.  You claim:

                            I in no way asserted that any old naturopathic or homeopathic remedy has validity.

                            That's not what I said.  I said you were saying we should accept remedies without evidence they work.  You indeed do this, because you defend homeopathic nonsense, where the overwhelming evidence says it doesn't work.

                            You can complain all you want about the lack of studies (which really isn't true, since homeopathy has been studied a lot, it's just that the studies say it doesn't work.), but until you can devise a mechanism outside of double-blind, empiric studies then your complaints are moot.  It is self-evident as to why anecdotal claims are not reliable.  That you rely on them instead of real science is sad.  I repeat: Anecdotal evidence is simply not sound enough to determine the efficacy of a substance, period.  

                            I will also repeat that the natural/alternative medicine industry takes in billions of dollars a year, so the notion that they can't afford rigorous testing for their claims is nonsense.  The fact is that by and large they don't want the testing done, because they know it will show that their stuff is hokum.

                            I finally put in a signature!

                            by Boris Godunov on Fri May 28, 2010 at 11:39:22 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Having had several courses in statistics and (0+ / 0-)

                            having put my way through college massaging same for several published doctoral theses, my trust in "double-blind, empiric studies" is limited. But my confidence in my ability to assess both science and empirical evidence remains.

                            As does my understanding of the efficacy of natural versus laboratory medicine.

                            I'm off to the natural world to observe the balance and harmony inherent in nature, outside of a laboratory's inability to quantify the many miraculous cures it offers. I think I know where a patch of reishi mushrooms is located. For thousands of years, the Chinese have relied on them to support health. Think I'll go collect some.

                            If you are attending NN10, I can bring along a few unpublished papers you might be interested in. Lots of statistics and double-blinds and cross-referenced conclusions.

                            Tah ;)

                            We are free people, free to help create our own future. Let's work together to improve tomorrow.

                            by 4Freedom on Sat May 29, 2010 at 11:20:03 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Well, there are these things called Neurons. (0+ / 0-)

                        They have connections, connections that grow and attenuate as people learn.  We can't explain everything, but we sure have a start as to what might be going on.

                        I mean, otherwise, how do you explain the way drugs work?

                        You lack skepticism.  That fortunately is a treatable problem.  You got to realize that people can come to believe things, by both rational and irrational means that are totally wrong, and the point of working by evidence is to keep our imaginations from running away from us.

                        The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

                        by Stephen Daugherty on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:31:10 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  My evidence is based on hundreds of people (0+ / 0-)

                    who have used homeopathic preparations successfully and who have relayed their experiences to me.

                    All that those commenting on this thread are offering up is scepticism, coupled with a lack of either evidence or personal experience to back their scepticism. And there is a definite lack of intellectual curiosity shown by the pettiness of the commentary.

                    That's cheap and easy. My work has led me to encounter several hundred people who have used homeopathy, some with greater or lesser success, as with any medicine. But all used homeopathy without harm.

                    I have observed some pretty amazing health benefits in those who use homeopathy.

                    •  Anecdotal evidence (0+ / 0-)

                      is not sound evidence for medical efficacy, period.

                      Scientific studies have been conducted, and they've proven that it doesn't work.  

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                      Claims of homeopathy's efficacy beyond the placebo effect are unsupported by the collective weight of scientific and clinical evidence.[9][10][11][12][13][14] While some individual studies have positive results, systematic reviews of published trials fail to conclusively demonstrate efficacy.[15][16][17][18][19] Furthermore, higher quality trials tend to report less positive results,[17][20] and most positive studies have not been replicated or show methodological problems that prevent them from being considered unambiguous evidence of homeopathy's efficacy.[9][12][21][22] A 2010 inquiry into the evidence base for homeopathy conducted by the United Kingdom's House of Commons Science and Technology Committee concluded that homeopathy is no more effective than placebo.[14]

                      Thousands of people claim lots of absurd things are real that simply are not.  Alien abductions, sightings of fairies and pixies, experiencing ghosts, etc.  There are many logical reasons why such anecdotes are unreliable and it is foolish to take them as proof of something being true.  For starters, lots of people lie.  Secondly, the human brain has the tendency to be easily fooled, hence the placebo effect.  Anecdotes also can't differentiate between causation and mere correlation.

                      Skepticism is not a lack of intellectual curiosity, as you're fond to claim.  That is an easy attack, which misses the entire point that claims without sound evidence should be treated skeptically, particularly when it comes to issues that effect people's health.  In fact, it is you who does not have any curiousity, because you're far too willing to accept anecdotal claims as to homeopathy's efficacy rather than consider the abundant evidence that it's all a sham.

                      But all used homeopathy without harm.

                      Homeopathy causes terrible harm in several ways, the chief being that some people will eschew actual medicine that could help them because of the fearmongering from Homeopaths of "conventional medicine."  There's also the harm of any fraud, which is bilking the gullible out of billions of dollars annually by selling them water.

                      People selling "homeopathic remedies" are indeed no different than the quack doctors of yesteryear, selling "miracle cures" from the backs of their wagons.

                      I finally put in a signature!

                      by Boris Godunov on Wed May 26, 2010 at 12:19:27 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Many practicing homeopaths are MDs. (0+ / 0-)

                        If you have any real intellectual curiosity, find one. Ask that individual why they practice homeopathy and they will most likely tell you that it is less harmful than drugs and often more efficacious.

                        Link to some studies.

                        •  Isn't the true believer the last person you want (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Boris Godunov

                          to be the sole authority on what works?  Of course they'll say it works.  Does that make them right?  No.  That's why double-blind studies are important, for example: if a doctor doesn't know who's getting the medicine and who's getting a sugar pill, then they can't swamp results with their bias.  If the treatment works, it works.  If it doesn't, the placebo will do no worse.

                          The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

                          by Stephen Daugherty on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:40:56 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  So what? (0+ / 0-)

                          Why should the fact that someone is an MD automatically lend credence to what they do?  Talk about the Appeal to Authority fallacy!

                          Considering the entire modus operandi of folks such as yourself is to cast aspersions on the integrity/quality of most medical doctors and their practices, it's amusingly hypocritical of you to then trumpet the fact that some of the snake oils salespeople are also doctors.

                          I already addressed the studies.  The problem here is that the studies you cite have multiple flaws and biases, and the ones that had slight positive results for homeopathic remedies were not repeatable.  Meta-analyses of ALL the studies conducted have shown that there is no efficacy to homeopathy.  You can't pick and choose those studies most favorable to your conclusions, ignoring the poor circumstances of those studies, and claim it proves anything.

                          Again, it is you who has no curiosity in this matter, as you're blindly accepting of anything purported to support homeopathy while ignoring the fact that the overwhelming body of evidence is against it.  That's about as close-minded as it gets.

                          I finally put in a signature!

                          by Boris Godunov on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:14:20 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  The energy from one molecule, if by random chance (0+ / 0-)

                    you could find it is incredibly small.  As for vibrational imprints, what's vibrating, and how does that imprint come about?

                    I'm an empiricist, which means I want measurements, not anecdotal evidence.

                    And if there's nothing to measure?  Then there's nothing to be claimed that has sound foundations.

                    People long claimed that certain remedies worked, long used prayers and other rituals to do healing.  People didn't get healthier, though, until the modern day, when we started doing medicine on a somewhat scientific basis.

                    The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

                    by Stephen Daugherty on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:27:30 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Hilarious (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mem from somerville, yaque

                If the "theory" behing homeopathy were true, we'd all be dead from drinking water molecules that once had contact with e-coli bacteria.

                And why should anyone care what the Queen of England does?  She's not a doctor, and even the richest of people can be seduced by quack medicine.  In fact, it seems rich people are more susceptible to wasting their money on such drivel.

                I finally put in a signature!

                by Boris Godunov on Mon May 24, 2010 at 01:06:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  One brave little rec here - from a martini! (0+ / 0-)

                Think I'll go have one after this, in a homeopathic dose, of course.

                All this bright, shiny science is hard to swallow.

        •  !!!!! (3+ / 0-)

          Wow. That's incredibly sad. I didn't know that number. I mostly hear about this from basic science side and not from the public health side. I can't believe the authorities there didn't start a massive campaign to try to right the ship. Again, hopefully they can convince the next generation how wrong these people are.

  •  This diary falls into the category of EXCELLENT!! (8+ / 0-)

    Nicely done.  Keep up the good work.  For all its many flaws (does many do it justice?) this site is valuable for just this kind of work.

    Bravo!!!

    No quarter. No surrender.

    by hegemony57 on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:34:44 AM PDT

  •  Jenny McCarthy wrote forward for Wakefield (10+ / 0-)

    book due out on Wednesday, and already ranked 1 Or 2 in categories Special Needs, Autism and Asperger's Syndrome, and Special Needs children.

    Innocent victim my eye.  She's making tons of money off of this contraversy.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:34:55 AM PDT

    •  DrW + JMc = Autism-Industrial Complex writ large (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aravir, codeman38, yaque

      No quarter. No surrender.

      by hegemony57 on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:37:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Jenny's son received ABA therapy (6+ / 0-)

      the whole time they were experimenting with diets.  She said the special diets cured her son of autism overlooking the obvious intensive behavior modification program.
      We have a son with severe autism and ABA is what has helped him achieve milestones most parents take for granted, like: toilet training, toothbrushing, handwashing, writing letters, etc...
      Most children learn via watching and imitating, but with autism that isn't the case.  Skills need to be broken down into small steps and positively reinforced.  Eventually, it becomes a skill.   This is what Jenny's son was given for years, so it seems that is what helped him transition and make strides out of  autism.  

  •  This won't change any minds, of course. (14+ / 0-)

    Parents who see themselves (and their autistic child) as victims will simply extend their victimhood umbrella to cover Wakefield, the same umbrella that they use to avoid being soaked by the torrential downpour of evidence against an autism-MMR link.

    Yet it does provide some small measure of vindication, most for those thousands of children who've suffered from measles (and the few that have died) owing to their unvaccinated status resulting from their parents' buy-in of Wakefield's fraudulent fable.

    Thanks, dog, for posting this. Disclaimer: I am a pediatrician and researcher who has written and lectured extensively on this subject. So nice to see an interest taken in this story here on Kos. I was going to post if someone hadn't already done so. Glad it was you.

    Now are the days we've been working for.

    by StrangeAnimals on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:35:56 AM PDT

    •  Well, I am just a layman but I have a (6+ / 0-)

      particular horror of misused science. As you point out there have been kids who have died from not having vaccines all because Wakefield wouldn't own up to the fact that his suspicion was not supported by evidence. We can't afford that kind of qauckery.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:43:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're right and worse than the kids with (8+ / 0-)

      long lasting problems due to measles because they were not vaccinated are the kids who got measles because herd immunity was compromised. Their immune system may not have responded as well as needed to the vaccination but then being exposed to a virus strain that was rapidly infecting a lot of unvaccinated kids they got a severe case and not only counted in the column of vaccine failure but may have to live with a disability the rest of their  lives.

      Lighting one candle in the darkness gets less attention than lighting one stick of dynamite.

      by OHdog on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:49:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, well said. (14+ / 0-)

        As a result of Wakefield’s claim, the MMR scare attracted so much media attention that MMR immunization rates fell in a number of countries, leading to subsequent outbreaks of mumps and measles in Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, and the U.S. Hundreds have been hospitalized, and up to a dozen deaths from measles have been reported.

        Like the claim against thimerosal, Wakefield’s claim against the MMR vaccine made little intuitive sense to scientists and doctors. After all, autism rates in the United Kingdom had already been on the rise prior to the introduction of the MMR vaccine in 1988.

        His claim that the virus in the vaccine caused injury to the gut, allowing proteins to pass into the bloodstream that then harmed the brain, could never be demonstrated, despite many tests on the brain and spinal fluid of autistic children. And study upon study – from locales as diverse as the UK, Finland, California, Georgia, Denmark, and Japan – has confirmed that the rate of autism is the same in populations of children having received and having not received the MMR vaccine.

        Besides, if the administration of the MMR vaccine led to the development of an ASD, why is it that in not one of the very many countries where MMR is given to children are we seeing an epidemic of autism occurring in four and five year-olds after receiving their second MMR vaccination?

        In the United Kingdom, MMR vaccination rates dramatically fell to 81% in the years after Wakefield’s fraudulent "study" was published, and are only now beginning to increase. Rates need to be consistently above 95% to create "herd immunity". Meanwhile, measles cases in England and Wales are still on the rise, affecting more than 1000 children annually. At least a dozen children whose parents elected not to immunize them against measles have died as a result. Not to mention, as you stated, the unknown numbers of consequential disabilities.

        Study after study has exonerated MMR. More than 20 subsequent studies from around the globe have been conducted since Wakefield’s paper – ALL consistently found no link. There is no "controversy".

        Now are the days we've been working for.

        by StrangeAnimals on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:54:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The good news is it looks like MMR vaccination (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          StrangeAnimals, coquiero, yaque

          rates in England and Wales increased from a low of 80% in 2003-04 up to around 85% in 2006-07 and have remained there.

          It looks like measles cases in England and Wales are not still on the rise.  Thankfully, they dropped from 1370 cases in 2008 to 1144 cases in 2009.  This is the first time there has been a decrease since 2005.  

          Hopefully, this is the start of a downward trend.  It looks like cases really dropped off at the end of 2009 if this graph is correct.
          Number of laboratory confirmed measles cases in England and Wales

          Confirmed cases of measles by region and age: 1996-2009

        •  Furthermore, (0+ / 0-)

          MMR (in the exact same formulation) was used in the US for about 15 years before its introduction in the UK, yet the pattern of autism incidence in both countries is essentially the same.

          The UK scare was that MMR was causing autism; the US scare was initially that thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative that used to be used in some childhood vaccines (notably, MMR wasn't one of them as thimerosal would have rendered it ineffective) was causing autism. It was removed from all vaccines used in infants/toddlers between 1999 and 2002, and autism rates were unaffected. That led some US activists and parents to switch to the MMR "theory."

          If Nixon was cocaine for the resentful psyche, Palin is meth—Andrew Sullivan

          by ebohlman on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:42:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  As a pediatrician and researcher, your disdain (4+ / 0-)

      for parents is distrubing. Do you tell moms that they are worrying too much when their child starts to display signs of autism? Do you question their parenting and their attachment before refering the child to a specialist?

  •  daughter, 12 yrs old (8+ / 0-)

    not vaccinated (for other reasons).  Has non-verbal autism since age 2.


    'The great religions are the ships. The poets are the lifeboats. Every sane person I know has jumped overboard.' - Hafiz

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:50:30 AM PDT

  •  It is actually worse than what you wrote (22+ / 0-)

    Wakefield was hired by an attorney hoping to bring lawsuits against the vaccine manufacturers. He was actually hired to find "evidence" of the conclusion that the vaccines led to autism. Further, the twelve children were all supplied by that attorney. The parents were later contacted. It was discovered that the "facts" about when, and even if, they were diagnosed with autism were just plain false. Several were not diagnosed, some were diagnosed before, and some long after, the vaccine.

    In other words, the whole thing was far worse than bad science. It was an outright sham from Day 1.

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:50:41 AM PDT

  •  autism and science (5+ / 0-)

    So many years were wasted on the vaccine autism link that it was amazing that funding was found that identified another correlation that links advanced maternal and paternalages with autism. There are similar studies that show a similar correlations with other mental health and neurological problems.

    I'm not sure if these studies identify an avenue toward treatment, but they do point away from vaccines.

    If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

    by JDWolverton on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:50:59 AM PDT

  •  The toxic baby bottle issue (7+ / 0-)

    The problem with this controversy was the mass hysteria and the jump to ditch something  that obviously saves lives -- vaccines -- because of a fear of a small risk that the vaccines could cause autism.

    But the whole idea of asking tough questions about whether the MMR vaccine could cause autism seems reasonable to me.

    But I think it's really important to develop comprehensive substance exposure databases, and comprehensive health problem databases, and see what happens when we find correlations between the databases as a whole, instead of focusing on a few glamor chemicals.

    Example: right now, there's a controversy about bisphenol A, a substance in the clear, hard plastic baby bottles that a lot of organically minded moms had been using to store breast milk.

    So, OK, I know THAT chemical might be scary, but what about all of the other plastics in baby bottles?

    What about the substances used to prepare the wood in paper products, flame retardants, silica gel packs, vitamin pills, etc.?

    What about substances that Western people now seem to eat a lot more of when I was little? It's pretty obvious that we should be suspicious of "autolyzed yeast extract" and "monosodium glutamate," but, also, even though tofu and rye are wonderful foods: how do I know that German people have bodies that can handle a lot of tofu, and how do I know that Japanese people can handle a lot of rye bread?

    So, I think people need to be less phobic about vaccines, but more paranoid about substances in general.

    •  I don't know about paranoid, but (5+ / 0-)

      interested. You know I have no problem with anyone pointing out a a source of potential causality, but when it is proven to be wrong, we need to move on.

      I think you're right, we should be studying this stuff all the time, that is also how science moves forward.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:59:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Move on, but leave "proved wrong" with asterisk (0+ / 0-)

        Clearly, the MMR-autism link is not big enough for ordinary people to keep their kids from vaccinated.

        But, if there were a parent who had a first cousin, niece, nephew, sibling or child who first began showing signs of autism after getting an MMR vaccine, then I think that particular parent should probably avoid giving his/her kid the MMR vaccine.

        For most people, the risk is far, far greater than the risk of any possible bad outcome from the MMR vaccine.

        For a few people who are closely genetically related to people who've had bad things happen around the time they got the MMR vaccine, it's a different story, and it's the same for all substances.

        Scientists can say, "Substance X is not dangerous enough to be of concern to the general population," but I think it's rare that they rule out the possibility that a substance could cause bad effects for members of a rare, unlucky subpopulation.

        Example: peanut butter is healthy for most kids, but it can cause kids with peanut allergies to die. Similarly, salt is way more dangerous for some people than for others. Eating salty food is fine for most, at least in the short term, but dangerous for a few unlucky people with severe salt-related high blood pressure.

        •  Thats not very good science there. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yaque

          No single event can be reasonably said to represent the risks of getting vaccinated. Now if there was a large family, who out of 100 kids in a single generation had five or more kids on the AS then there might be something to study. It still would not say anything about whether MMR was the trigger or not.

          The thing is that lots of developmental things happen at the same time as the vaccinations. The fact they happen then has nothing to do with when we give vaccinations but they have everything to do with whether a child will express the autism which they have.

          To conflate the two is the real mistake the Doc Wakefield made.

          Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

          by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 12:06:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bad reactions in first-degree relatives matter (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wa ma

            On the one hand: the idea of us voluntarily rushing to let our children participate in measles epidemics or other epidemics is horrifying.

            I'm angry at parents of healthy children that I know who don't get their children vaccinated against measles, diphtheria, etc.

            On the other hand: if vaccine defenders are overly dogmatic and, in effect, say that all children should get vaccinated, no matter what, and that reports of a few possible bad outcomes are simply anecdotes that ought to be ignored, I think that kind of aggressive certainty undermines the authority of vaccine defenders.

            CDC guidelines already say that you should avoid giving a child an MMR shot if the child has had a bad reaction to a previous MMR shot, or if the child is allergic to the MMR shot ingredients.

            The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices says you should think twice about giving an MMR shot to a child who's had a seizure or who has a close relative who's had seizures.

            Also, this study talks about how half of the siblings of children who had bad allergic reactions to measles shots also seemed to be allergic to the shots.

            It also looks as if the percentage of kids who get the MMR and go on to have febrile seizures was about 0.4% among Danish children with a history of febrile seizures. That study says the febrile seizures weren't associated with epilepsy, but epilepsy was the only bad, permanent outcome studied.

            This study suggests that children who have all sorts of febrile seizures are twice as likely as other children to die in the first 2 years after having the seizures. (That wouldn't necessarily hold true for babies who had seizures because of measles shots; maybe the children who died were at risk because they had bad diseases -- such as measles or pertussis -- that caused the seizures and later caused the children to die.)

        •  First: People are evolved. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          StrangeAnimals, yaque

          That means we all carry a wide variety of biochemical traits.  Most of us are fairly similar, for obvious reasons: biochemical pathways don't generally benefit from changes.

          Still, there is enough variation that some people process different nutrients, drugs, and treatments differently from others.

          The question is how, and to what degree.  Some people are going to react against the MMR vaccine, no doubt, but what can we prove is going on there, what really happens?  So far, there's no asterisk on the Wakefield allegation, no proof of a real link.  Until there is, we have real diseases to worry about, and we should protect people from them.

          The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

          by Stephen Daugherty on Mon May 24, 2010 at 01:01:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  We can speculate until the cows come home. (4+ / 0-)

      I even saw a study that linked heavy rainfall to increased autism--how do you guard against THAT ONE?  I've heard people (not researchers, just people talking) discuss TV as a potential cause, plastics, additives the list goes on and on.  I think someday we'll know it's a combination of genetics and some random environmental factor, probably something less concrete than 'shouldn't have eaten that sandwich' or whatever.

      •  Heavy rainfall...lol...show the fallacy of (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        codeman38, pinkomommy, yaque

        trying to say correlation proves causation. It doesn't.

        F the right wing whiners. I don't care about them any more they can all F themselves for all I care.

        by UndercoverRxer on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:09:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know the rainfall correlation is a joke (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean, yaque

          or not, but, if a correlation exists, I think it's important to study the correlation really carefully and think about what other factors something like raininess could be linked to.

          Example: in the New York area, does rainfall increase levels of mercury in the air by stirring up dust? Does it cause a lot of fungus to grow, and does some of the fungus cause autism? Etc.

          If the health problem is athlete's feet, doing all that work might not make sense.

          If the health problem is that beautiful children are deprived of a chance to have a happy life, then I think it makes sense to look carefully at many different hypotheses.

      •  If I recall, the rainfall and TV ones... (4+ / 0-)

        ...were even because of the same correlation. Because after all, people stay inside and watch TV when it's raining...

        •  "Rainy weather" could be the same as "plastics" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          codeman38, yaque

          I started Googling, and there's a widely quoted guy named Theo Coburn who's a professor of zoology at the University of Gainesville, and he's suggested that there seems to be a correlation between autism and having vinyl floors, possibly due to the bisphenol A or phthalates in the vinyl floors.

          If kids in rainy places are more likely to have autism, that might be because babies in rainy places spend more time crawling around poorly ventilated homes with flooring treated with vinyl, phthalates, etc.

          One way to test this would be to get a list of flooring treatment chemicals that have gotten to be more popular in the past 50 years, get a database that shows typical exposure levels to those chemicals in various regions, then compare autism rates in those regions.

          •  Or maybe there's a correlation between autistic.. (4+ / 0-)

            ...children, and their tendency to want to stay inside!

            The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

            by Stephen Daugherty on Mon May 24, 2010 at 01:03:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Seriously (0+ / 0-)

              Joseph at the Natural Variation blog suggested that the rainfall correlation could be explained by urbanization; cities tend to be located where there's water, which means rainfall, and in cities the chance that a kid will have access to a specialist who can diagnose autism early on is increased (remember that only the most "severe" autistics are "easy to spot"; many autism parents report spending years trying to find a diagnosis for their kid's problems).

              If Nixon was cocaine for the resentful psyche, Palin is meth—Andrew Sullivan

              by ebohlman on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:56:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Speculating is part of how we "come to know" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZenTrainer, codeman38, yaque

        The information will not just magically reveal itself one day, hypotheses have to be formulated and tested. Even dumb ones. Even incorrect ones.  

        •  But laughing at the hypotheses doesn't lead to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yaque

          them being tested.

          One question for scientists or medical researchers would be: is there an agency in Europe, Australia, Canada, etc. that compares substance exposure databases for various regions with health problem indicators and looks for correlations in a systematic way?

          When a bunch of people in one neighborhood get cancer or autism, then, obviously, people look to see what unusual substances are common in that neighborhood.

          If a factory spills plutonium or cadmium over a neighborhood, epidemiologists look to see what diseases people get.

          But is there someone trying to look at this from a systematic, statistical perspective, instead of on a case-by-case basis?

    •  BPA, tofu estrogenic (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      codeman38, pinkomommy, yaque

      That's the problem with them, of course. Good science has shown MSG is actually not harmful (that was blown out of proportion as well).

      But, the main point here is excellent. There are literally over 100,000 chemicals used commercially, only 1000s of which we've studied at all, and only 100s that we understand in any meaningful way (if that). We just need to be smart about what we consume, and wisely avoid things that seem suspicious… as long as the benefit of avoiding them outweighs the risk (e.g., buy glass, not plastic, that's relatively easy, but get your vaccines, even if you have concerns, because the pathogens they're stopping will kill or compromise quality of life).

      •  MSG Not harmful FOR GENERAL POPULATION (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wa ma, yaque

        I think one issue with blanket assertions that "Substance X or Activity Y is not harmful" is that, in most cases, the studies are just showing that Substance X/Activity Y isn't harmful enough to typical people to show up in studies about the effects on a bunch of typical people.

        But, for example, MSG is obviously bad for people with salt-related high blood pressure.

        It seems logical to assume, that just as there are some people who have a hard time handling certain amino acids, there are probably people with other quirks that make it difficult for them to handle substances such as MSG, soy, bisphenol A. NOT because those substances are necessarily harmful the way cyanide gas is harmful, but because we all have bodies that are better at handling some things than others.

    •  How suspicious should we be of (0+ / 0-)

      2-[3-[(4-amino- 2-methyl- pyrimidin- 5-yl) methyl]- 4-methyl- thiazol- 5-yl] ethanol,
      7,8-dimethyl- 10-((2R,3R,4S)- 2,3,4,5- tetrahydroxypentyl) benzo [g] pteridine- 2,4 (3H,10H)- dione or pyridine-3-carboxylic acid, all of which are routinely added to processed foods by corporations? Note that the second one is used as a food coloring (E101) in the UK.

      If Nixon was cocaine for the resentful psyche, Palin is meth—Andrew Sullivan

      by ebohlman on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:50:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Autism was recently strongly linked (5+ / 0-)

    to infertility drugs AFTER advanced age of the mother was factored out. And the longer the mother was infertile, the greater chance of autism.

    There's a lot of things that we do more now than we did before the MMR vaccines, or vaccines in general. We have children older. We use more infertility drugs. We use more birth control. We eat more fast food! We use more SUPPLEMENTS - wouldn't it be ironic if those "all-natural" supplements people give their kids was a cause of autism?

    in everything give thanks.

    by terra on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:55:53 AM PDT

  •  the vaccine diaries (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gailwax, codeman38, coquiero

    that I've read in past are so heated - people flame each other in the extreme; I was looking for and  haven't seen many people comment on their children's vaccines experience but lots and lots of opinions and personal attacks on comments going back and forth....

    I would like to hear from folks about their direct experience with vaccines good and bad

    CEO CAPITALISM: Steve Poizner & Meg Whitman's tax plans would only really serve "to benefit the wealthy and ultra rich." - David Kersten, Tax Analyst

    by anyname on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:56:59 AM PDT

    •  Here's a diary I posted in March: (5+ / 0-)

      I hope that it proves useful. Vaccines: Safe or Scary?

      Now are the days we've been working for.

      by StrangeAnimals on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:59:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  back when the vaccine was MMR combination (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tacet, CTPatriot, coquiero

        we did see bad reaction so then Dr. gave vaccines separately in combination of 2 that did not cause the adverse reaction and the one vaccine that was causing the reaction the Dr. reduced to smaller doses over longer time period ( without mercury )

        you know that get the vaccines without mercury preservative but it takes effort and cooperation with your physician;

        RFK jr. wrote an article few years back when wanted his doctor to use vaccinations without mercury for his small kids.. once he did that for his own small children he organized ( maybe donated too can't recall exactly ) vaccines without mercury for the entire pre-school where his children attended;

        tell truth I don't think I would have the heart to allow a child I was responsible for to take a combination vaccine of ( what is it now ) 22 or more vaccines in combination.... I couldn't do that

        I support vaccines but I don't agree that they are administered responsibly.. children do react badly to vaccination and the number of vaccines in combination now boggles my mind additionally they begin vaccinating immediately when an infant is a few days old ...

        IMO it had gone way too far too fast without enough precautions for what is now standard practice with vaccinations

        CEO CAPITALISM: Steve Poizner & Meg Whitman's tax plans would only really serve "to benefit the wealthy and ultra rich." - David Kersten, Tax Analyst

        by anyname on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:30:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You can countdown the seconds (6+ / 0-)

      before the diary will explode with "I hate Jenny McCarthy" and then segue into "Homeopathy--phooey!" followed closely by "and that acupuncture--what idiots!"

      When all I'd like to see is some genuine discussion and interest in autism.  I really could give a hoot about Jenny McCarthy, anyone who listens to a playboy bunny for scientific reasoning is a dummy, and I've never understood what homeopathy and acupuncture have to do with a discussion about autism, but that's what it always dissolves into.

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:08:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's the role that Junk Science is playing (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        codeman38, p gorden lippy, yaque

        in detracting from the real issues and real solutions to difficult problems.

        Take a wander thought this website

        F the right wing whiners. I don't care about them any more they can all F themselves for all I care.

        by UndercoverRxer on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:30:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What I'm saying (7+ / 0-)

          is that I personally am affected by autism in the family.  I understand that other people are focused on other issues.

          I don't really care about those other issues as much.  I'd like, selfishly, to see people more involved with autism, pure and simple, without it constantly being mixed up with other things that have absolutely nothing to do with autism.

          I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

          by coquiero on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:33:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Fair enough.... (6+ / 0-)

            I can see where you are coming from there. I think that this discussion is a good place to point out the dangers of Junk Science.

            Then there is Junk Science calling good science junk....global climate change deniers tend to be in this category.

            F the right wing whiners. I don't care about them any more they can all F themselves for all I care.

            by UndercoverRxer on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:37:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But do see how it can be harmful (5+ / 0-)

              to people affected by autism, when these debates are so often tied together?

              People start to develop weird attitudes that somehow people with autism or their families are proponents of "junk science".  I have nothing to do with junk science.  My kids are all vaccinated fully.

              You may think I'm imagining it but I think those of you who battle against "junk science" are doing those of us who are battling against autism a disservice by constantly associating junk science with autism.

              I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

              by coquiero on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:42:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  well, no. The whole point of these discussions is (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                UndercoverRxer, StrangeAnimals, yaque

                to clear the foul air of junk science and move past the things that have been disproved.

                Junk science is junk. Autism is autism. One of my son's has ASD. No fun (well, often lots of fun, but not seeing him be bullied and struggle in social situations). But pretending that his vaccines caused it won't help him, and it won't help some other kid who just might go blind if he catches measles from some other non-vaccinated kid.

                Junk science is what the ignorant or the opportunistic purvey to ensnare sincere people. It has nothing to do with actual people who have, or whose of family members have, autism. Except insofar as it increases risks of infectious diseases and keeps actual scientific progress on autism from moving forward.

                The reason you see the homeopathy and bowel cleansing stuff on these threads is because they all have a common theme:

                They depend on junk science that has been disproved, but despite that, there are true believers who do damage to themselves or others by refusing to move on.

                Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

                by p gorden lippy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:24:34 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I surely never pretended this: (0+ / 0-)

                  But pretending that his vaccines caused it won't help him

                  And you just proved my point.

                  I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

                  by coquiero on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:28:41 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I was not attributing that point to you at all. (4+ / 0-)

                    I was attributing that point to the anti-vac crowd who deny the science that shows that vaccines are NOT the cause of autism. Nor is the mercury in the preservatives. No linkage, nada, despite millions spent on follow-up studies and wider investigations around the world.

                    What I was trying to say is that I think your concern that autistics get somehow linked to junk science is unfounded. That's like saying that parents of kids with leukemia who got suckered by laetrile or other scams cause a link between cancer and quackery. The autistics and their families are the victims here - as well as kids who catch contagious diseases because they're not vaccinated.

                    The reason the other junk science gets into these threads is because it's the same phenomenon, and it causes the same kind of damage in other areas as it does in this area. The hope is that if people read the thread, they'll see the connections between one area of science denial and others (global warming, evolution, other kinds of medical quackery, etc.).

                    Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

                    by p gorden lippy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:42:05 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  What people are likely to get the point of (0+ / 0-)

                      is that autism is connected with "science deniers" just as much as they'll "see the connection between one area of science denial and others."

                      And once you clarified that you were not attributing your previous "point" to me, it was clear.  It was not clear in the comment itself.

                      I think I have a point here.  You do not.  Okay.

                      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

                      by coquiero on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:53:05 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  I think you're making a hasty generalization. (0+ / 0-)

                Plus, the people you should be mad at are the people who actually push the junk science. They are particularly public, and particularly loud and obnoxious about it.

                To blame us, the skeptics, for it is not helpful.  Hell, you would probably do more good for the image of parents of Autistic children, simply by being a positive presenter of scientific information, than by lashing out at people who are merely trying to clear up the BS, not hurt people like you.

                The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

                by Stephen Daugherty on Mon May 24, 2010 at 01:08:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  So now I have to prove something???? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wa ma

                  Hell, you would probably do more good for the image of parents of Autistic children, simply by being a positive presenter of scientific information, than by lashing out at people who are merely trying to clear up the BS, not hurt people like you.

                  You have got to be kidding me.  You need to listen objectively to yourself.

                  I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

                  by coquiero on Mon May 24, 2010 at 03:08:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Not prove something. Just not count... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...on people withholding criticism from those who deserve it to spare the reputation of those who don't.

                    My opinion has always been that it's easier to improve your reputation by expressing your views rather than by shutting up somebody else.

                    Also, you present a less confounded message.  It will be clear what you stand for and who you stand for.

                    The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

                    by Stephen Daugherty on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:20:21 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Autism was once blamed on "refridgerator mothers" (4+ / 0-)

              and there is still a heaping does of judgement placed on parents of ASD kids (even within the comments to this diary). We've had enough Junk Science and judgement.

    •  I think this is one of the most polite vaccine (8+ / 0-)

      diaries I have ever read.

      Course I've learned to be a bit quiet, only wincing when homeopathy is slammed, not commenting - till now ;).

      But I think 'Dog is doing a good job of keeping this one on track.

      Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

      by ZenTrainer on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:00:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I eliminated my allergies w/ vit. and supplements (0+ / 0-)

        After 40 years of serious, nearly disabling allergies, for which I was treated with a number of drugs, I looked into a vitamin/supplement treatment, and it works.

        I began with the theory that allergies are based on inflammation responses and thus sought a regimen that would reduce inflammation.

        It costs me about $8/month and is based mainly around:

        Vitamin A
        Magnesium
        Calcium
        Vitamin B5
        Vitamin D3

        I occasionally add some Quercetin to the list if I'm still having allergic responses.

        You can find the recipe online with the dosages.

        My allergist would laugh at me if I told him what I was doing. Perhaps it's a placebo effect, but for $8/month, almost no allergies, and no medicine side effects I'll take it.

        NOTE: My allergies do not include deadly food sensitivities.

  •  a huge victory (18+ / 0-)

    I'm a mildly autistic adult (Asperger's Syndrome) and I am delighted by this - there has been so much asshattery on the part of suboptimal parents and sleaze ambulance chasing lawyers - good to see that it's been laid to rest.

     Autism is probably a bit like the colony collapse disorder that honey bees face - a complex, systemic thing that arose as humans began making all sorts of chlorinated hydrocarbons, endocrine disruptors, and the like. There isn't any fixing it - it's a prenatal development thing. What we'd mostly want, all things being equal, is to not be expected to do/say/be something we're not. I can't tell how you're feeling by looking at your face, so maybe cut me a little slack if I seem 'different'?

    "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

    by Stranded Wind on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:01:06 AM PDT

    •  Like I said to GrannyHelen up thread (9+ / 0-)

      I think that what is really needed is support for folks with unique challenges like you have. I am massively dyslexic, I did not read, at all, until I was 10 years old. Without the support and effort I got I could not be the person I am today.

      I want that for every person, for them to have the best shot they can have to get what they want from life.

      It would be great if we could prevent the challenge from happening, but since that seems unlikely, lets do what we can for our fellow citizens who have extra challenges.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:03:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do you plan to have children? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      codeman38, Stranded Wind

      How do you feel about parenting an ASD child?

      •  Not the original poster... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        moira977, Stranded Wind, yaque

        but as an aspie myself, I think I'd actually do better raising an autistic child-- even on the 'lower' end of the spectrum-- than a neurotypical one, because I would understand the way their brain worked somewhat better.

        •  My husband is also an Aspie and it is both good (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          codeman38, Stranded Wind, yaque

          and bad. On the one hand, we were not suprised by our son. The parallels with his dad were evident very early on. My husband can offer BTDT advice, especially about school.  But at the same time, his gaps make it difficult to get a good read on our son. I end up translating for both of them. On the bright side, I have much more compassion for my mother-in-law now that I am raising a challenging son. No wonder she went completely nuts.

      •  have two (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        yaque

        My son has a tiny hint of it - sensory integration disorder. He is doing just fine, you'd have to know him well to even guess.

        "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

        by Stranded Wind on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:51:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My next door neighbor has a child who is autistic (12+ / 0-)

    and she's told me that in a life filled with some pretty shitty things, the onset of her youngest son's autism was the shittiest.  It manifested itself in the middle of winter, and the boy turned out to be a wanderer and a stripper and rarely slept.  They live in a split level home that has all the bedrooms on the lower level, and this child had a gift for opening windows and doors, stripping himself naked and then fleeing into the winter hell of Chicagoland.  She said there were a couple of years when there was a cop who pretty much sat at the end of the street because of how often they had to call for help.  They never slept, they couldn't complete a task.  All of them, including the two older children, became guards on alert at all times.  Their house became a locked fortress.  They were all scarred.  My first encounter with her was when she came over the first day we moved in to apologize in advance for her son's streaking and wandering and to beg us not to freak out.  The people who owned this house immediately before us were apparently not very understanding.

    It's not that way now.  There's been much improvement since those early days.  But I think if I were to ask her about this topic, she'd tell me that she really doesn't care why this happened now, she only cares that they found a way to cope.

    "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway

    by Got a Grip on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:08:20 AM PDT

  •  Happy to hear this, (3+ / 0-)

    but you kind of buried the lede.

    I had to read a long, long way to see the fact presented in your headline. Then, there's not a lot of detail around that fact.

    Don't get me wrong -- I think it should have happened long ago. But if the point of the story is that this clown had his license suspended, maybe you should put it in the first graf and not make your reader search for it.

    There is no link to a story on the suspended license either -- only one to a Daily Kos diary about the Lancet story being discredited.

    Could you add something to make this good diary great?

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:09:48 AM PDT

  •  I have an autism spectrum kiddo (12+ / 0-)
    He's gonna be 16 in July.  I am NOT on the anti-vax bandwagon.  He's had everything, including the chicken pox shot before it was req'd and last year for good measure he got the one for meningitis, also not required yet.  

    I have an old friend who is on the anti-vax bandwagon and another friend who is on the limited vax bandwagon.  In my thoughts I'm going, "Really?!?!  You would expose your child to DEATH and DISFIGUREMENT out of your fear of the vaccines effects on your kids?  Really?"

    •  And at the same time, they're looking at you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yaque

      thinking 'how can you poison you child like that?'  I know, I'm a vaxer with an autistic kid and I saw that 'how can you' look PLENTY when I told others with autistic kids that I vaccinated my (neurtypical) daughter.  Autism-land is WEIRD sometimes.

    •  and the insidious thing is the exposure of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yaque

      YOUR kid and MY kids (one of whom has AS) because these cattle are being herded by the Oprahs and Ariana Huffingtons and RFK, Jrs., of the world and put everyone else's kids at risk.

      Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

      by p gorden lippy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:07:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry (7+ / 0-)

    I'm not disappointed to see a quack discredited.  I think that it's beyond unhelpful that there are people peddling all kinds of foolishness re: autism, which I no longer view as a disorder, to parents hoping for a "cure."

    Enthusiastic tip and rec.

    climate.gov---POTUS' New Science-Based Climate Change Agency

    by GN1927 on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:16:18 AM PDT

  •  I was just looking up what (5+ / 0-)

    Martin Gardner would have to say on this subject.

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    Sadly, he's dead.

    If the Bush administration were in charge, we'd all be going after their heads.

    by shpilk on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:17:18 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary! If I may make a plug for a book (9+ / 0-)

    That I had absolutely nothing to do with, but enjoyed thoroughly - that touches on this very "controversy". I can wholeheartedly recommend:

    Vaccinated One Man's Quest To Deafeat The World's Deadliest Organisms, by Paul Offit, M.D.

    It is the story of a man - Maurice Hilleman - whose name everyone should be familiar with but isn't. Hilleman is responsible for saving millions of lives with his vaccines, most notably the first Hepatitis B vaccine as well as the discovery of interferon (used to treat Hepatitis C and B today)

    He never sought out the spotlight and passed away in 2005 in relative obscurity but he was also responsible for developing the mumps vaccine and countless others. This is an excellent book and also addresses the now utterly discredited "link" between vaccines and autism with hard science.

    Like this diary, I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up!

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:18:06 AM PDT

  •  It's not just THEIR children either (11+ / 0-)

    Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children aren't just, in my opinion, practicing abusive behavior toward their kids.

    They're also creating a population that hasn't been vaccinated for the disease to spread and mutate. They're undermining one of the main points of a vaccine program, which is to control the disease overall, not just in individual cases.

    They're threatening the health and lives of children who HAVE been vaccinated by giving the disease a greater chance of mutating so the vaccine is ineffective.

    "Does this matter? It matters to the extent that ideas matter, and in the long run they do." Brian Barry, Culture & Equality

    by Niky Ring on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:19:13 AM PDT

  •  For What Was He Banned? (2+ / 0-)

    This diary mentions Wakefield's flawed paper, his subsequent career fraudulently claiming it proved something it didn't, and the recent withdrawal of it by the journal that published it. The diary also mentions that he was recently banned from practicing medicine in the UK.

    But it doesn't mention for what his license was revoked. It says only:

    The General Medical Council found that Dr. Wakefield was guilty of serious professional misconduct.

    I could infer that the misconduct was the study, or perhaps his misuse of it in his public speaking career, but that's not substitute for knowing the facts.

    Indeed, this diary offers only one linked citation, to a Daily Kos story about the journal report being disclaimed and withdrawn. Where's a link to the central fact of the story, the specific reason Wakefield was delicensed?

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:23:22 AM PDT

    •  I added the link the the NYT post that I read (6+ / 0-)

      this in. As you say he was banned for the way that he went about this study.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:26:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, let's see... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrangeAnimals, p gorden lippy, yaque

      He deliberately lied in his "research" paper.

      Falsified results at the behest of lawyers who wanted to try to SCAM insurance companies and vaccine manufacturers out of big bucks. So they could line their own pockets.

      He committed scientific fraud in order to make money.
      And continues to this day to ride the gravy train based on his initial willful, deliberate fraud.

      In the meantime, many children DIED who otherwise would have not died. Because their parents got bad advice based on FRAUD. Untold others were sickened who would not have been sickened. Some of those children would be permanently disabled.

      If that isn't the very definition of serious professional misconduct worthy of license revocation, I don't know what is.

      Would you consider someone guilty of professional misconduct who deliberately infected your kids with potentially deadly diseases (not vaccines, but the full-hate, real thing)? This, in essence, is what Wakefield did.

      Serious professional misconduct, indeed.

      The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

      by kmiddle on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:04:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, his license was pulled (0+ / 0-)

        for various ethical violations: not disclosing various conflicts of interest, recommending invasive procedures (including spinal taps and colon biopsies) on children who had no medical indications for such procedures, and collecting blood samples from children attending his son's birthday party (yes, you read that last one right). The GMC (General Medical Council) inquiry didn't focus on the accuracy of his research, only the ethics of his methodology.

        If Nixon was cocaine for the resentful psyche, Palin is meth—Andrew Sullivan

        by ebohlman on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:11:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  And what should we know about the link... (0+ / 0-)

    ...from the Simpsonwood conference report and what occurred after it? Has it been wrongly interpreted? I recall reading a transcript of the proceedings some years back that seemed to point to agreement among the pharma folks and CDC that a clear link existed.

    Then it all went bye-bye. Was it all made up?

    "Over and out, last call for sin, While everyone's lost, the battle is won" - The Killers, All These Things That I've Done

    by Apphouse50 on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:23:32 AM PDT

  •  The Role Of The Internet & Media..... (11+ / 0-)

    I think the media also has "blood on their hands" (so to speak) with this issue as well. The news media loves stories that can frighten people & drive in ratings or sell newspapers. So when Wakefield peddled his study, they were more than willing to go with scaremonger headlines about "children in danger". And when the original conspiracy theory is proven wrong, the correction gets a blurb on page A8.

    Also, PBS' "Frontline" had a great episode on this issue recently called The Vaccine War, in which they had interesting anecdote about the role of the internet in this.

    To me, it's fascinating that the internet, a tool that is supposed to allow for the widespread transfer of knowledge & facts to the populace, is in some ways doing the opposite much better; spreading rumor, speculation, and conspiracy theory instead. Because if you think about it, before the internet, the "cranks" had few & far between to agree with their bullshit ideas. Now, the conspiracy theorists can find other conspiracy theorists, and thus reinforce their beliefs in their conspiracy theories.

  •  15 years ago, I thought there was a 1% chance (3+ / 0-)

    the vacinnes were stimulating an Autism response.

    That some kids were sensitive to the proteins or
    the Thimerosal, and were getting autistic.

    That said, if you don't vaccinate, you have about a 10%
    chance of getting Mumps,Measles, Rubella, Polio,,,,

    and many of those were fatal.

    Autism is rising, but, that we have other problems
    as well we have fought.

    unleashing the demons of the 19th century isn't
    a good idea.

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:32:17 AM PDT

    •  Actually if nobody vaccinated for (0+ / 0-)

      measles, essentially 100% of the population would have been infected by age 15. And in such a population, it would have a case-fatality rate (number of deaths divided by number of cases) of about 1 in 1000. That's a whole lot of dead kids.

      (Oddly enough, in a well-vaccinated population its case-fatality rate is about twice that, 1 in 500. Well, not so oddly: in a well-vaccinated population most of the infections are going to be in infants too young to be vaccinated, people with medical problems that prevent them from being vaccinated, or people in whom the vaccine didn't "take." Those are going to be the people who are especially vulnerable and more likely to die of the infection.)

      If Nixon was cocaine for the resentful psyche, Palin is meth—Andrew Sullivan

      by ebohlman on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:18:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some great background on the Wakefield situation (3+ / 0-)

    ...as illustrated by a cartoonist.

    http://tallguywrites.livejournal.com...

    I'd been following this for a while, and there were still some things mentioned in this that I hadn't even realized.

  •  if you survey information (0+ / 0-)

    about sm & lg intestinal chronic illnesses you will find that some severe diseases like Tetanus damage intestinal tissue so far there is no remedy to repair the damage it is permanent;

    I don't happen to know if there has ever been study on tetanus vaccination and digestion/assimilation chronic illness but would be interested in reading if there is URL article you know of;
     

    CEO CAPITALISM: Steve Poizner & Meg Whitman's tax plans would only really serve "to benefit the wealthy and ultra rich." - David Kersten, Tax Analyst

    by anyname on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:01:40 AM PDT

  •  Hiya! (2+ / 0-)

    Good article, sir. Ya got any bread crumbs? :P

    if someone dangles keys in front of my face I am fascinated by them. Thats what this website should be. -- rexymeteorite

    by Colorado is the Shiznit on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:07:16 AM PDT

  •  Wakefieldism is a religion, and it can't be (11+ / 0-)

    understood without that context.

    For years I taught gifted classes and one of my (very) gifted students -- now 40ish -- has a son on the spectrum and she is a full-blown Wakefieldian. He is more than The Only One Who Knows, Tells and Owns the Truth -- he is a messiah, a martyr, and the more he is persecuted by Big Pharma and Big Science and Big Reality, the more she and other acolytes Believe. This is a 150ish IQ and it makes sense to her that the more Wakefield is proved false, the more true His Word is.

    It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

    by teachme2night on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:13:59 AM PDT

    •  Dad used to say that you can't (8+ / 0-)

      win an emotional argument with facts. This is exactly what you are describing.

      Besides, having a high IQ is no protection against being wrong. This I have learned from bitter experience.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:39:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's worse than that. (0+ / 0-)

        having a high IQ is no protection against being wrong

        No, but it should be a protection against being stupid. But what I've found is that once an intelligent person is committed to an emotional certainty, the intelligence functions in service of the delusion,  building more elaborate and well constructed defenses and justifications.

        It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves. -- Thomas Paine

        by teachme2night on Tue May 25, 2010 at 07:17:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you and the General Medical Council (5+ / 0-)

    in Britain. This man has done immeasurable damage by feeding the general paranoia of many people and praying on the vulnerability of parents desperately seeking answers.

    I also fault the Lancet for being way too slow in dealing with this.

  •  Did Imus ever apologize for misleading millions? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch, codeman38, yaque

    I stopped listening to his program when the ranch stories came out, so haven't heard whether he ever admitted how wrong he had been about vaccines and autism.

    "To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well." Justice Robert Jackson, Chief Prosecutor, Nuremberg.

    by Wayward Son on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:16:05 AM PDT

  •  Sad part is, vaccinophobes will take this as... (10+ / 0-)

    a huge conspiracy to suppress the troooooth.....

  •  As the parent of ASD child....here's my opinion (0+ / 0-)

    My son was born on the leading edge of the autism epidemic 24 years ago...and make no mistake it IS an epidemic. And those who say it's better reporting rather than new cases.  B.S.  It's like saying there aren't more children being born with thumbs in the middle of their foreheads, it's just better reporting. There was little support of any kind available 24 years ago.  Any time you have a huge spike in a condition that was previously rather rare, it seems obvious to look for a cause. Everybody's got a theory. Here's mine: sonograms. I had many of them because the doctor thought I was carrying twins. It was when sonograms were first coming into common use. The logical question would be why don't all children whose mothers received sonograms display ASD symptoms. I believe there are genetic factors at work as well. It's the same reason that a person can smoke for a lifetime and not get lung cancer while another person smokes for 10 years and gets cancer.  As for the vaccines, I think that they do actually cause an overload on the child's immune system and that combining so many and beginning them at such an early age is not a good thing, which is why I delayed my son's vaccinations beginning them at one year which was AFTER he was diagnosed with autism.

    •  Well, here is the thing. (9+ / 0-)

      There is no evidence to support the idea that vaccines contribute to the onset of symptoms. You are more than welcome to have idea, but it does not become science until it is tested over and over. The things you point to don't really have any evidence to support them.

      They are worth investigating, but jumping to any conclusion without reproducible evidence is bad science and should be resisted.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:54:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  All true, but (6+ / 0-)

        Science offers no comfort and doesn't provide The Truth (tm).  And it's frequently wrong, though self-correcting in most cases.  

        When someone comes along  offering definitive answers, which at least provides the comfort of knowing what the cause of a child's illness is, they attract desperate people.  

      •  there is no "autism epidemic." Sorry to break (12+ / 0-)

        news to you.

        I have a son with AS. I've followed this closely. I'm also a scientist, so I view claims with skepticism and weigh evidence.

        The fact is that in the 50's and '60's, kids with problems went into the "special class" and no one paid any attention. By the '80's, the Asperger paper from the '40's (that was the original description of the syndrome) was brought to the awareness of mental health professionals and educators, etc., and it began to be recognized that it was probably far more common than had been appreciated.

        The same is true for frank autism. As awareness grew, so did the diagnosis, since now there was a recognition by pediatricians and psychiatrists and special educators and psychologists that there were patterns and commonalities.

        In Korea, it was noted recently that the autism rates were much, much lower than in the west. Excitedly, people sought to study this phenomenon. They went to Korea and hoped to find new insights in autism and ASD.

        Instead, what they found was a social stigma against autism. When diagnostic tests identical to those used in the US were applied to the Korean population, they found identical rates of occurrence.

        Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

        by p gorden lippy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:59:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Right. (6+ / 0-)

          It is clear that more cases of autism in recent years are being recognized, but it is not clear whether more cases of autism are actually occurring.

          Most experts feel that autism has in fact not become more common, that there exists no real "epidemic" of autistic spectrum disorders. Rather, they believe, the "rise" can be explained largely by that physicians are applying the diagnosis far more commonly and correctly than in the past.

          The prevalence of autism and, more recently, ASD is closely linked to a history of changing criteria and diagnostic categories. Autism first appeared as a separate entity with specific criteria is the DSM-III in 1980. In 1987, the DSM-III-R listed broadened AD criteria, and the new sub-threshold category of PDDNOS, both of which promoted inclusion of milder cases. The DSM-IV in 1994 included AS for the first time.

          Again, before 1980 there were no standard criteria for autism. Any diagnosis of autism was based on the definition of each individual physician. People now labeled autistic in the past might have been given some other diagnosis. Indeed, a 2008 study found that a surprising number of adults who were diagnosed as children as having developmental language disorders would today be diagnosed as having an ASD.

          Similarly, a number of studies have revealed that as autism has "increased" in recent decades, there have been equivalent declines in cases of "non-specific mental retardation". Children once labeled as "retarded" are now more likely to be given the more specific diagnosis of "autistic". This is not to say that all or even many autistic children are cognitively delayed.

          Growing evidence also suggests that a significant portion of the "rise" in autism can be explained by the gradual broadening in recent decades of the definition of the disability to include children with milder, more subtle symptoms. Children once described as "quirky" or "unusual" or "eccentric" are today more likely to be diagnosed with an ASD. Heightened awareness of autism among parents and doctors has certainly aided this phenomenon.

          There is also a financial impetus to include children in the wider definition, so that their treatment will be covered by insurance.

          Now are the days we've been working for.

          by StrangeAnimals on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:16:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  In a world where memes often thrive and multiply (8+ / 0-)

    due to their plausibility within people's existing points of view rather than due to any verified evidence, thank you for upholding the basic principles of the scientific process.

    Civil marriage is a civil right.

    by UU VIEW on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:39:18 AM PDT

    •  It is a bit of a hobby horse for me. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch, StrangeAnimals, yaque

      Science is where we learn about our universe, it should be as good as possible else we will have really flawed world views.

      Off topic but it was really nice to meet you at the BBQ on Sat!

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:46:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, well said. (3+ / 0-)

        Science does not provide answers. It provides a process for increasingly arriving at ever-more defensible answers. This is subtle, but crucial. Science does not arrive at knowledge. Science is a process, and always has doubt at its heart. Asymptote, not Arrive. For "answers" you need to take a jump from science to opinion, belief, conclusion, whatever you want to call it. The process of science must be combined with our reason and cleverness to put various observations into a coherent context.

        Now are the days we've been working for.

        by StrangeAnimals on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:04:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  On being a high functioning-autistic. (12+ / 0-)

    And one of the things that botheres me is the visceral horror with which autism is regarded by so many.  Autistics are often treated as so difficult to handle that they destroy families, destroy marriages, and require constant attention.  But to be an autistic is not to be inhuman.  Autistics are not monsters.

    I am autistic.  Officially I have Asperger's, although soon I expect this to be reclassified as Autism Spectrum Disorder under the new DSM criterion.  That's irrelevant.  But growing up, all my parents knew that I was very quiet, liked stacking my toys, that I had severe problems transitioning, had fixations on dinosaurs and pattern sequences, and had a lot of sensory issues.  They just chalked it up to me be "an odd duck".  Later in life I received an official diagnosis.  But it wasn't relevant to me except that it explained a lot.  But I am very "high functioning".  I never had any communication issues.  I managed to fall in love and get married and have kids.

    However, there are very many autistics who are not so "high functioning", or who are "non-verbal".  Even those who are more profoundly impaired than myself they, properly accomodated, can living very productive, and yes, happy lives.  

    And, although I've had some severe issues reading emotional cues, and I can't maintain eye contact at all, my condition has gifted me in other areas.  I wouldn't take a "cure" if it were offered.  Not all autistics would agree, but a sizable minority would.  And this scandal has eaten at our collective craw for a long time.  It's part of the vast "curebie" mythology that makes many of us feel like we are regarded as an "error", or some kind of monster even.

    Faby-o, downrec me again. You know I love it!

    by Cheez Whiz on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:47:23 AM PDT

    •  I generally don't feel "disorderly" :-) nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch
    •  another note (3+ / 0-)

      Generally, I don't like to use "high functioning" vs "low functioning".  They represent a sort of value judgement I try and avoid.  But they represent the current medical parlance, so I do slip the phrase in once in a while.

      Faby-o, downrec me again. You know I love it!

      by Cheez Whiz on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:10:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My ASD son is violent and depressed (4+ / 0-)

      And can be a very difficult child to parent - and a difficult child to have as a sibling. I don't view him as a monster or defective or anything like that. But I also know now how challenging life can be for him - and for those of us around him. We will be fine. I have a great deal of confidence in my son's future. But I also have some heartache for my daughter and other son that they might grow up and, in turn, become a parent to a challenging child like their brother.

      •  I'm sure you are doing a fantastic job (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wa ma, coquiero

        with your son.

        Faby-o, downrec me again. You know I love it!

        by Cheez Whiz on Mon May 24, 2010 at 02:08:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  As an autistic person, my occasional anger... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero

        ...is due to either at not understanding a situation, not being understood, or not being respected/believed.  I read a very good book a while back titled/subtitled "Learning to Listen - positive approaches and people with difficult behavior" by Herbert Lovett.  It covered difficult topics like self-injurious behavior.  Its Amazon link (including a look at the first 6 pages of chapter 1) is here.

    •  Much of that visceral horror (0+ / 0-)

      is the result of fearmongering efforts on the part of snake-oil salesmen and trial lawyers. You have to convince parents that autism is something truly horrible if you want them to pay you $50K/yr to essentially conduct uncontrolled medical experiments on them, and you have to convince juries that kids' lives have been shattered in order to get high damage awards (just as if you're a prosecutor in one of the rare child sexual abuse cases that goes to trial rather than a guilty plea, you want a victim who's a basket case). Overstating the prevalence of fecal smearing in autistic kids is one of the staples of this technique, as is insinuating that autistic kids stop developing unless they're subject to quackery (in fact autistic kids continue developing for longer than non-autistic kids; as blogger Prometheus has said over and over, autism is a condition of developmental delay, not developmental stasis).

      If Nixon was cocaine for the resentful psyche, Palin is meth—Andrew Sullivan

      by ebohlman on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:45:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One point... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wa ma

    The UK report stated:

    'The case did not investigate whether Dr Wakefield's findings were right or wrong, instead it focused on the methods of research.'

    We still don't know what causes autism, nor how to prevent it.

    But we do know that vaccines are a billion+ year business, and corporations would never ever do anything that would cause harm to life or the planet... (snark).

    Why is it that the Patriot Act limits vaccine lawsuits...

    Come on... What is wrong with a little pig virus in your baby? http://online.wsj.com/...

    •  There exists (11+ / 0-)

      no vast international conspiracy to hide the "truth" about vaccines.

      Ponder the ridiculousness of it: hundreds of thousands of public health scientists, academic researchers, medical journal editors, pediatricians, and family physicians the world over in league with vaccine manufacturers foreign and domestic, not to mention agencies of the United States government (the CDC, and FDA), to hide from parents and the public at large evidence of having collectively inflicted a devastating disease upon millions of children, children whose welfare these professionals have otherwise devoted their lives to protect.

      Ponder further the ludicrous notion that of a vast, secret, corrupt international cabal of hundreds of thousands of individuals joined year upon year in absolute solidarity, maintaining a leak-free silence over the terrible secret they share. These same conspirators are even so devious as to knowingly give these dangerous vaccines to their own children and grandchildren, as part of a grand scheme to convince the public of their safety.

      Preposterous, wouldn’t you agree? If the link between vaccines and autism were not necessarily proven, but at least strongly suggested, there would be reason to reconsider how and when we vaccinate children. No true advocate for children would think otherwise. But the science simply is not there.

      Look at it from another perspective: the business perspective. Vaccine administration is not always cost effective for pediatricians, especially those who are in smaller practices. In fact, from a purely business standpoint, vaccines don’t make much sense at all – administration is often poorly reimbursed, and vaccines prevent infections and the resulting income-generating outpatient visits and hospitalizations that would go along with them!

      Now are the days we've been working for.

      by StrangeAnimals on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:10:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're conflating two separate issues. (11+ / 0-)

      Yes, we should be concerned about the actions of for profit corporations. However, there is also the science behind vaccines. They don't just make them to make them, they make them to prevent diseases.

      The fact that MMR was given as a single injection is more about cost control for the parents than some money making scheme by the vaccine corporations.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:10:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Folic Acid (0+ / 0-)

    DISCLAIMER: I am not a scientist, medical profesional or parent/relative of a child with autism who would have academic or personal knowledge on this subject.

    Recently, I was just letting my layman's mind wander about autism after reading an article estimating that 1 in 91 children born today in the U.S. will be diagnosed with autism by age 5.  And then somehow my mind landed on folic acid as I thought of changes in environmental or dietary trends in the last couple of decades.  

    Today, women are counseled to take quite a bit of folic acid the second they start thinking about pregnancy and kick it into high gear early in pregnancy to prevent spina bifida and other neurological conditions. In fact, I remember being counseled to start a regimen myself as soon as I got married though we weren’t even thinking about kids yet. And I also specifically remember being told that dosage didn't matter. The more the better was the implication, or at least my take-away.  

    I did a google search and found some discussion from a tiny segment of the scientific community that has proposed the same theory, with lots of pushback from the broader medical community, drug companies, and manufacturers of prenatal supplements.

    I don’t know if there's any there there... and, thankfully, I am not invested in any theory one way or another... but my gut reaction was that folic acid could make more logical sense than other suspected culprits since folic acid is specifically intended to affect the emerging neurological system in utero. Could this be an instance where a substance can be provably beneficial in small amounts but potentially harmful in larger doses?

    Since so many here seem to have both academic and anecdotal knowledge of autism and other spectrum disorders, I wanted to see what others thought.

    "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist" --- President Barack Obama, 1-20-2009.

    by tier1express on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:18:44 AM PDT

  •  Let's not forget... (0+ / 0-)

    the link between human non-Hodgkins lymphomas and a monkey virus.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/...

    The tainted vaccine was still being administered long after 1963...

    Studies have found that the virus is appearing in children born after 1963, which suggests that it is being transmitted between humans, although nobody seems to be clear on how this is happening... still sure vaccines are safe?

    We should use common sense. not common wisdom when selecting which vaccines our children receive.

    Non-Hodgkins lymphoma is a nasty illness- it is cancer of the blood and immune system.  What will the pig virus in today's vaccine, create in our children of tomorrow?

    •  We should use NEITHER common sense, (3+ / 0-)

      nor common wisdom. Nor should we use anecdotes. Anecdote is not science. Anecdotes generate questions, not answers.

      Instead, we should science, and the scientific method. Science has self-correcting mechanisms built in so that mistakes (and they do happen), and the occasional fakery (e.g. Wakefield), are soon eliminated.

      To the vast majority of lay people who are parents, the science of medicine and vaccines and the immune system is hard to understand, and the anti-vaccine movement has, more or less successfully, framed the issue as "big pharma" protecting its interests, and a conflict between "brave maverick" doctors against government and the global medical community.

      It is difficult communicating science to a public that is unfortunately more easily convinced by fear, and a desire to find a unifying cause for autism, than by science and reason. It is also difficult to reassure a public that has trouble distinguishing cause from coincidence, and understanding that temporal association alone does not imply causation.

      We all hear stories, most of them twisted with the telling and re-telling, about an individual who developed some sort of medical problem just after vaccination. We almost never hear about the millions upon millions of children who were vaccinated but had nothing bad happen to them.

      From the public perspective, these success stories are simply not newsworthy. From the scientific perspective, they are essential.

      Science will ultimately uncover the causes of autism, and perhaps even find means for preventing some number of those causes, but in the meantime doctors and scientists will have to become better at explaining the science that excludes vaccines as one of these causes. Simply relating the facts of science isn’t enough, no matter the overwhelming weight of evidence that shows that vaccines don’t cause autism. When scientists find themselves just one more voice in a sea of "opinions" about a complex scientific issue, misinformation takes on a life of its own.

      Now are the days we've been working for.

      by StrangeAnimals on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:40:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

        "Most of them twisted with the telling and re-telling"

        How nice of you!

        I offered links to the researchers who have published their findings... are they twisted too?

        Why have the vaccine manufacturers lobbied to be exempt from litagation. If there is no problem with vaccines, then why the law?

        Non-hodgkins lymphoma infects 55,000 people every year, and is the fourth deadliest cancer. We've created the potential for this deadly illness by inserting it into our DNA via a polio vaccine... we contaminated millions and millions of babies.
        That is "nothing bad happening"? Really?

        No one knows what will happen to the infants receiving the flawed pig virus... yet.

        Maybe some more "twisted telling and re-telling"... will eventually happen here and there across the internet... nothing official mind you, nothing you can put your finger on...

        •  Well that's an easy question... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          StrangeAnimals, yaque

          Why have the vaccine manufacturers lobbied to be exempt from litagation. If there is no problem with vaccines, then why the law?

          Because some parents (and perhaps some potential juries out there) believe there is a link. That doesn't mean it is true. Plenty of people believe in UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster and the excellent candidacy of Sarah Palin.

          •  Doubtful... (0+ / 0-)

            I don't think Big Pharma lobbied for the vaccine litigation exemption, because they were afraid of a few misguided parents would waste their dollars on some unscrupulous ambulance chaser.

            If we believe in justice, then these misguided parents would have had their day in court, and justice would of prevailed. If science is the key here, then science would prove or disprove the autism link- absolutely. And a court case would be an excellent place to present that data. Make your case!

            But that can't happen anymore.
            Our rights were taken away.  

            If the science is good, it will hold up to independent and detailed studies- something that has not happened yet. Let's study the issue, and solve it.

            1 in 89 children are born with autism. Don't compound that tragedy by mocking parents of a sick child, and dismissing them as Loch Ness/UFO conspiracy loons.

            •  OK (0+ / 0-)

              I was not trying to mock, and apologize if it came across that way. What I meant was that legal judgments may be made even if there is no factual basis for them. Convincing a jury isn't the same as having the weight of scientific evidence behind your argument. I'd disagree that court is the best place to make such an argument since juries are generally not made up of those with the background to judge scientific evidence. (I've sat on 2 juries.)

      •  What we also don't hear stories about (0+ / 0-)

        is children who developed some sort of medical problem right before they were scheduled to be vaccinated. But that doesn't mean they don't exist; it just means that nobody thinks to make a connection between the future vaccination and the problem, for the obvious reason that we assume effects can't precede their causes.

        But if we want to treat medical problems developing after vaccination as being caused by vaccination, we have to show that they're more common than medical problems developing before vaccination. It doesn't matter how many thousands of parents correctly and honestly report that their kids developed a problem after vaccination; you have to know the other number as well. That's not "invalidating" the former parents' experience or reports, it's just noting that what they experienced could have happened even if there was no vaccine connection.

        If Nixon was cocaine for the resentful psyche, Palin is meth—Andrew Sullivan

        by ebohlman on Tue May 25, 2010 at 12:16:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  How do you apply "common sense" here? (3+ / 0-)

      In order to apply any kind of reasoning to a problem, you have to have data.  Where is the data support a decision about which vaccines to use?

  •  Forget banned from medicine (4+ / 0-)

    The guy belongs in jail.

  •  As a guy with Aspergers, I can't help but... (7+ / 0-)

    ...hang my head in disgust at what this guy did.  I'm glad he's been stripped of his ability to commit further malpractice.

    They never were able to reproduce his results.  People should realize that people can get emotionally invested in bad theories, and the whole point of science is to take our personal feelings outof the equation as far as we can take them, and replace them with sensible means to test them.

    Unfortunately, the Anti-vac's movement done the exact opposite, defeating the purpose of scientific study, and leading millions towards a blind alley of painful pseudoscientific belief, which will only yield results by blind luck.

    At least here some justice is done.

    The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

    by Stephen Daugherty on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:53:30 AM PDT

  •  alphabet blocks cause autism! (5+ / 0-)
    "Lots of things start happen between the age of 1 ½ and 3 which could be triggering autism, if it indeed has a trigger in that sense."

    Indeed. And it may also be that many children on the autism spectrum are generally not diagnosed as such until at least that age. Not all autistics are obviously so. I certainly wasn't. In fact, i wasn't diagnosed for a long time. (That explained a lot of weirdness to both myself and my parents.) I'm confident that most autistics cannot be diagnosed as such that early in life.

    Wakefield's hypothesis is nothing but a coincidence, imho.

  •  [raises hand] (4+ / 0-)

    Asperger's Syndrome sufferer here.

    The whole vaccines-caused-my-autism thing has been an article of faith by my mother since I was a few years old in the early 70s.  It launched her onto alternative medicine for me that to this day she insists saved my life.

    As a scientist, I can easily say some of it DID help, objectively, but whether it saved my life or not is entirely unprovable.  And my mother's faith that Modern Medicine is Evil will never, ever be shaken, unto her dying day.

    Moral of the story:  Changing attitudes with mere facts can be as completely futile on the liberal side as it is on the conservative side.

    •  Bear in mind that coins have two sides :-) (0+ / 0-)

      There can indeed be suffering in one's experience of living with AS - for example, my 15+ years of active alcoholism well before I was finally diagnosed at 46.  But there is also a vast range of cool things to enjoy doing, watching and/or learning about which can be very pleasurable experiences...

  •  This is such a difficult issue (5+ / 0-)

    to combat on the left because not only is it intensely emotional - as you've pointed out again and again - but it appeals to a particular set of our usual bêtes noires: corporate greed, conspiracy of the plutocracy, idealization of the natural world, and anti-intellectualism (which sadly isn't limited to the right).  

    As you said, it's hard to be too angry at well-meaning parents who are just looking for answers, but it's doubly hard to explain to them that 'answers' aren't easily found, and that the scientific process is a genuinely good thing, even if the results are sometimes wrong.  We live in a political environment where everything of worth is reduced to a bumper-sticker length or discarded.  Science won't fit on a bumper sticker.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Mon May 24, 2010 at 01:52:31 PM PDT

  •  Good. (2+ / 0-)

    I'm just sorry it took so long to unmask this guy. There's a lot of acceptance of bad medical science in some parts of the Left, and I don't think it's going to stop just because Wakefield was finally exposed as a fraud.

    One thing being heavily advertised on my local progressive station is a no-medicine fraud called the Health Freedom Expo, which features unscientific nonsense like the idea that cell phones damage your brain. I agree they damage your social skills and are incredibly annoying, but there's no science to back up the brain damage claim.

    On Sara Palin: "That woman...is an Idiot." -- Keith Olbermann

    by allergywoman on Mon May 24, 2010 at 02:02:35 PM PDT

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