Booster Shots

Oddities, musings and news from the health world

« Previous Post | Booster Shots Home | Next Post »

'Bringing science back into America's sphere' hits a nerve

August 24, 2009 | 11:23 am

Vaccines500

In Saturday's Los Angeles Times, my article appeared, 'Bringing science back into America's sphere.' The piece is a Q&A with author Chris Mooney about his book "Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future," on how science has become less important to many Americans and the threats he and coauthor Sheril Kirshenbaum feel this poses to society.

We've received many letters and phone calls in response to this article and the issues he discussed: religion, Pluto no longer being considered a planet, vaccines, the Internet and how we go forward.

The health aspect of all this is the vaccines-cause-autism issue: Mooney discusses this at some length. He says there are many well-educated people who believe that vaccines caused autism in their children, despite scientific evidence to the contrary.

We've created this post as an open forum for your comments.

What is your opinion on the vaccines-cause-autism issue? Do you think America is less scientific-minded than it once was? 

We welcome your feedback in the comments below.

-- Lori Kozlowski

Photo credit: Tim Sloan / Getty Images

Post a comment
If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate.
Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In





Comments (135)

Hi Twyla,

As you know, there were three special masters.

You asserted: "Those judges are not scientists either."

I simply pointed out that two of the three special masters were scientists. Now you are pointing out that the third is not scientist doesn't really address the fact that your initial claim was wrong.

Your truth claim is above for all to read. I don't think there is any value to rehashing it.

Here again is the link to data on 100% unvaccinated kids:
http://www.autismhelpforyou.com/HG%20IN%20VACCINES%20-%20Simpsonwood%20-%20Internet%20File.pdf

It seems to work for everyone else.

Here is a page with the link:
http://www.autismhelpforyou.com/Simpsonwood_And_Puerto%20%20Rico.htm

Please read the first link (to the 262 page document). And again remember the point here: the document explains in simple English that they compared unvaccinated kids with vaccinated.

No Twyla, the Goth study in absolutely no way demonstrates that "a little bit of mercury harms the immune system". Rather people that are getting rich at the expense of families with autism claim it does.

All you have to do is to use your practiced critical reading skills and read the court's explanation why this argument is totally wrong. Then you will have one of many example as to why the special master's ridiculed the competency of your side's witness--they didn't even understand the purpose of the Goth study or how to interpret it.

The day you start looking at why your sides arguments have been universally rejected is the day you will understand why they have been rejected.

Just to add on to John Stone's comment (8/30 @ 11:20 p.m.), here is another quote from that IOM meeting, in whigh the committee refused to look at hundreds of case reports showing the relationship between vaccinations and autism (from http://www.putchildrenfirst.org/chapter6.html ):

****

Dr. Johnston: Barbara Loe Fisher [NVIC] could give you names. Mrs. Fisher said she had cases. I think she came up to say if you needed any cases to demonstrate the points, you could have them.

Dr. McCormick: She was demonstrating causality. She was taken by your case series that you did-the Guillaume Barre (sic) and whatever, the tetanus. She was all ready to get you cases to prove causality.

Dr. Wilson: Well, let's see them.

Dr. McCormick: Let's not do that. Do you have a free weekend that you want to plod through them?

- IOM Committee Meeting, 1/12/2001 Closed-Door Meeting Transcript, pp. 149 & 150

***

No study of the injured children -- just epi number crunching.

Hi John Stone,

You wrote to me: " If the government and AAP were really concerned they would be listening carefully to parents' accounts of what happened to their children not trying to shut them up..."

No John, if the vaccine skeptics would bother to make rational arguments with valid data then they would understand the reality.

You are a smart person, with any effort you will see how absurd the argument you have posted is.

Briefly, it is:
(1) Innumerate--consider for example the US, ~4 million kids born per year, with something like 36 doses of different vaccines well duh a lot of kids will have symptoms in temporal proximity to a vaccination
(2) Illogical--confusing correlation with causality
(3) Fails basic biology--the observed effect can be temporally very distant from the cause. E.g Rhett's syndrome, a 100% genetic form of ASD where the child develops normally but then regresses after 1 or 2 years. The cause was present at conception but the effect isn't seen for years.
(4) Fails basic biology--there is excellent data that autism occurs in utero around day 20 post-conception and data showing that the underlying biological defects exist long before symptoms are observed
(5) Fails basic integrity--asking a parent to accurately recall when their child's symptoms first occurred is just ridiculous. In the Cedillo case the data clearly demonstrated that autism started before the vaccines where given. The Cedillo's lawyers tried to suppress this evidence--fortunately the courts deigned this request and now we all know that it is impossible that the vaccines caused the Cedillo's autism.

Sorry John--those that read the decisions know that in the Cedillo's cases the autism couldn't possibly be caused by the vaccines.

Hi Twyla,

Just to add on to the comments about IOM meetings, if you bother to read them you can not only find countless examples where they explain the errors that the vaccine skeptics keep making, but you can even find examples where the skeptics are called by name and the errors explained to them--but the false arguments are still made today.

One of most egregious tactics the skeptics use (e.g the putchildrenfirst link you provided) is to offer a quote that is nothing more than a fraction of a sentence. Any reasonable person can see how this could be done in a very misleading way.

Fortunately the transctipts are public record anyone that wants to know the truth can read the quotes in thier entirety.

Or one can follow the written history where it has been pointed out how deceiving these partial quotes are.
Or one can follow the court history--where perjury laws apply--and see how all the inflammatory arguments disappear.


But then having a BA in English is useless if one refuses to read the evidence.

White&Nerdy,

I read with amusement your argument here, and I tried to understand what point you were trying to make. If you're trying to assert that data exists about vaccinated vs unvaccinated children, I'm happy to confirm it, because it exists in my own house between my two children. Even a simpleton can figure that part out.

What you don't seem to realize is that When people are talking about data between vaccinated and unvaccinated children and Autism, there has been no study designed or undertaken to study vaccinated vs unvaccinated populations and it's correlation with outcome of Autism diagnosis.

You seem to be under the mistaken impression that Verstraten designed and completed such a study yet this directly contradicts both the study design and the outcome. If you read carefully, the study was designed to determine if infant Thimersol dosage exposure from vaccines was correlated with neurological outcomes. Verstraten himself stated quite clearly that the study could not determine if there was any association or not. Notice that they he did not study vaccination status vs neurological outcomes, but only Thimerosal exposure.

Since you seem knowledgeable enough about some of the details, you should realize that you are trying to interpret a different outcome from a study that wasn't designed to test vaccination status and Autism. Not only was the data not collected to test for such an outcome, but the analysis was not designed to test for such a correlation, nor was the data you quoted ever published after undergoing peer review.

Even ignoring your basic methodology failure here, you might note that they could not have measured for ASD outcomes in over 30% of the children since the average age of autism diagnosis back then was 2-3 years. You might have also noted the extensive exclusionary criteria which in one cohort was a significant 20%. I hardly consider a study that excludes 20% of the children due to various criteria including hypertension of the mother during pregnancy! Sorry that does not qualify as studying any representative "population".

To hold up as proof, you own alternative analysis (with a different objective) based on a transcript only of a preliminary presentation prior to peer review is the real Chutzpuh here.

Given the fact that you're misrepresenting an old tired study, and ignoring the numerous flaws of such a study which have been well documented for years, I can only conclude you are debating in bad faith. As you recommended to others, I suggest you get your basic arguments in line, as you are acting as a poor representative for the scientific public.

Posted by: White&Nerdy | August 30, 2009 at 06:32 PM
“””Hi John Stone…It is a simple fact that there is data on 100% unvaccinated kids compared to vaccinated kids and vaccination didn't increase the risk for autism.”””

Twice you have made this statement to John Stone; but have you referenced such a study and if not why not, other than as it does not appear to exist, and if not, neither does your credibility?

I see a lot of familiar faces from wherever the internet hosts a "debate" on vaccines and autism.

I see the same arguments. Mostly, I see the same people avoiding the science. Given the nature of the post here, I think that's important to note.

The people who argue "vaccines can cause autism" have, for the most part, been arguing "vaccines caused an epidemic of autism".

They posed the questions to be asked: did thimerosal or MMR cause an epidemic of autism?

The answer was no.

Now they play a careful dance where they won't directly address the fact that the epidemic wasn't real.

Instead of acceptinig the fact that their questions were answered with a big no, they attack the researchers and studies that they asked for.

Attacking science because one doesn't agree with the answer is a great example of "unscientific America".

Someone by now must have brought up the "fourteen studies" website. It is a perfect example of "unscientific Americans" attacking science rather than admitting they were wrong.

Generation Rescue (Jenny McCarthy's autism organization, as they have branded themselves) put together a pseudo-study purporting to compare health and autism in children by country and vaccination schedule. It is one of the worst bits of deceptive pseudoscience I have ever seen. The irony is that it makes the exact abuses of data claimed in the "fourteen studies" website. The pseudo-study was made by the same people as "fourteen studies". So, there is no way the pseudo-study was a mistake. It was clearly created as a deception.

So, you have people attacking science they disagree with and making up pseudo-science to support their ideas.

Unscientific Americans? Absolutlely. They're here.

I'm always amused by the standard mantra repeated by Sullivan and his ilk. It reminds me of the man who holds a ticket for Seat #36 on a train car with 24 seats who continues to argue with the conductor that seat #36 must exist because he holds a paper from an Authority that says so.

People like Sullivan also seem to be confused by the difference in "scientific consensus" vs actual Science because scientific consensus forms the basis of their argument from Authority. Of course scientific consensus has nothing to do with science or the scientific method. It is purely an opinion, and in many cases like this, not substantiated with any credible evidence.

The Cochrane group after a systematic review of MMR studies concluded that the safety studies were inadequate. Perhaps they can try to explain in scientific terms how we move from inadequate to a definitive answer of "no" without any higher quality or properly designed science being conducted? They also forget to note that the highest quality studies in evidence based medicine were never designed or executed. Those are the studies being requested by the pro-safety groups.

I also find it amusing that these same people who argue that the scientific investigation is complete also insist that the official Autism prevalance numbers and data are wrong when most of the very studies they quote require a good set of prevalance numbers to come to any statistical conclusion. For some reason this cognitive dissonance is absent in these "scientific folk".

They also seem to have semantic problems because somehow a handful of similarly flawed narrow focused MMR and Thimerosal studies turns into "Vaccines have been studied" as if all vaccines or even the interactive vaccine schedule have been thoroughly investigated. The cognitive dissonance of a true scientist still seems to be absent.

Of course the hypocritical accusations that pro-safety advocates only attack the researchers are immediately followed by broad based generalizations and name calling. Still no cognitive dissonance is evident.

I doubt they'll notice the unscientific Americans in the mirror either.

"The Cochrane group after a systematic review of MMR studies concluded that the safety studies were inadequate"

funny that. I happen to have that file open right now.

"Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children (Review)"

I will note the line "No credible evidence of an involvement of MMR with either autism or Crohn’s disease was found."

I see your methods have not changed, Schwartz. There are unscientific Candadians as well.

Sullivan,

It's great that you pointed out the simple logic that when there isn't any credible science you won't find any credible conclusions. That includes a lack of positive or negative correlation.

Congratulations on figuring out the obvious.

W & N said, "One of most egregious tactics the skeptics use (e.g the putchildrenfirst link you provided) is to offer a quote that is nothing more than a fraction of a sentence. Any reasonable person can see how this could be done in a very misleading way. "

Fraction of a sentence? I suggest you apply your high standards for accuracy to yourself. That quote contained complete sentences. Furthermore, if you go to the site you will see that they included a link to the complete transcript in the word "transcript".

Schwartz, thanks so much for your great comments because now I don't feel the need to waste my time responding.

W & N -
In your post on August 31 at 4:45 p.m., you said:

*****
"As you know, there were three special masters.

"You asserted: 'Those judges are not scientists either.'

"I simply pointed out that two of the three special masters were scientists. Now you are pointing out that the third is not scientist doesn't really address the fact that your initial claim was wrong."

*****

In the recent Autism Omnibus procedings, the three Special Masters were Patricia Campbell-Smith, Denise Vowell and George L. Hastings, Jr.

I have already provided the bio of George Hastings, who is a tax attorney.

Here is Denise Vowell's bio:

Denise Vowell is an honors graduate of Illinois State University (B.S. in Political Science and Philosophy in 1974) and the University of Texas School of Law (J.D. 1981), and a distinguished graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (M.S. in National Resource Strategy in 1998). She enlisted in the Army in 1973 while an undergraduate at Illinois State, and received a direct commission in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) in 1974. After serving as a Military Police officer, she was selected for the Army's funded legal education program. While an Army officer, she served as a tort litigation attorney, prosecutor, defense counsel, chief legal officer, and as both a trial and appellate judge. She retired from the Army as the Chief Trial Judge in January,2006.

Her publications include: The Fourth Amendment Warrant Requirement and Courts-Martial: Military Justice versus Military Readiness, 8 American Journal of Criminal Law 281 (Nov. 1980); To Determine an Appropriate Sentence: Sentencing in the Military Justice System,114 Military Law Review 87 (Fall 1986); Using Operations and Maintenance Funds in Contingency Operations, Military Review, Vol. LXXX, p. 38, (Mar-Apr. 2000). In addition, she authored numerous published and unpublished opinions as an Associate Judge, U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals. She was a frequent guest lecturer on trial advocacy, evidence, and procedure at the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School.

She is a member of the National Association of Women Judges, and currently chairs the Military Courts committee. In her spare time, she advises a Senior Girl Scout troop and an all-girl Boy Scout Venturing Crew in the Bailey's Crossroads area of Northern Virginia where she resides. She is an avid backpacker and someday hopes to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.


Here is Patricia Campbell-Smith's bio:

Ms. Campbell-Smith was appointed as Special Master on December 8, 2005. She entered duty on December 19, 2005.

Ms. Campbell-Smith practiced from 1993 to 1996, and again from 1997 to 1998, with the law firm of Liskow & Lewis in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her areas of practice included environmental regulatory law, patent infringement litigation, and toxic tort litigation. Her pro bono work included representing children in adoption proceedings in the juvenile division of Civil District Court in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Ms. Campbell-Smith served as an extern to Judge John Minor Wisdom of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1991. She clerked for Judge Martin L. C. Feldman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1992 to 1993. She clerked for Judge Sarah S. Vance of the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1996 to 1997, and she clerked for Judge Emily C. Hewitt of the United States Court of Federal Claims from 1998 to 2005.

Ms. Campbell-Smith graduated from Tulane Law School, with honors, in 1992. She received her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Duke University, with honors, in 1987. She is a member of the bar in the states of Louisiana and Maryland.

The above bios are from http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/

So, no scientists among the three. Political Science and electrical engineering don't count. I happen to believe that people who are not scientists are often quite capable of being intelligent and logical. However, if the whole point of the LAT article is that mere mortals (non-scientists) should genuflect before Scientists and believe everything They say because mortals are not capable of understanding what Scientists understand, then these three judges are not qualified for this blind, uncritical, obedient genuflection.

Anyway, it would be hard to agree with everything that Scientists say because they disagree with each other quite a bit.

Darn, guess we're stuck with using our own brains, as well as our eyes and ears.

BTW, there are actually quite a few scientists who believe that vaccines cause autism.

Sullivan | September 01, 2009 at 04:18 PM
””””I happen to have that file open right now…."Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children (Review)"…”I will note the line "No credible evidence of an involvement of MMR with either autism or Crohn’s disease was found."”””


Sullivan is yet another “vaccinator” who attacks responders with non-evidenced mantra when faced with scientific argument. Not unexpected, Sullivan's reply to Schwartz is more unscientific mantra this time using the Cochrane Review - that Reviewers found no credible evidence of an involvement of MMR with autism or Crohn’s.

What Sullivan fails to mention is that it was impossible for the Reviewers to find any credible evidence of MMR involvement with autism or Crohn’s. They found that the enormous number of studies they reviewed were of poor quality and that they could find no evidence – credible or not - of safety of MMR, nor evidence – credible or not - of effectiveness of MMR, despite having looked at thousands of studies.

Then how could they be expected to find any credible evidence on involvement of MMR in autism, Crohn’s or any other disorder?

The most disappointing aspect of that study, and unscientific, is found in their conclusion; the Reviewers make a throwaway comment that (despite their findings) vaccines are shown globally to have value (or words to that effect); yet they provide neither data nor evidence in support of that statement anywhere in their study, hence objective observers assumed this comment was political, not scientific, without which the important study may not have been published – the Cochrane Collaboration being dependent on big pharma finance. As the throwaway comment was unevidenced, it is difficult to explain it any other way.

What “vaccinators” must be required to do by governments is to bring ANY credible studies on MMR with autism, Crohn’s or any other disorder to the table of science that pass scientific muster.

Demicelli, Jefferson et al’s Cochrane Collaboration Review says there are NONE that can prove safety or effectiveness for MMR, so why are governments vaccinating children with vaccines PROVEN in this far-reaching Review to carry unacceptable risk – there is no credible evidence of safety, and unacceptable inadequacy – there is no credible evidence of effectiveness, which ARE an enormous public financial burden?

It would appear that our apparently delusional governments will risk every child’s life and health on throwaway comments in vaccine research papers, that probably assured publication and cynical use by big pharma “vaccinators”, as opposed to the scientifically evidenced comments on lack of safety and lack of efectiveness.

Just to expand on my previous comment:

After analyzing 10 years of paperwork regarding a plot of land, the analysts make the following 2 statements:
1) We found no evidence of lead contamination in the soil
2) We were disappointed that we didn't find any evidence that proper lead testing equipment was used

Both of these statements are consistent and true. To the scientist however, only one statement has any relevance and it's not the first one.

Schwartz is, of course, correct:

"Sullivan -It's great that you pointed out the simple logic that when there isn't any credible science you won't find any credible conclusions. That includes a lack of positive or negative correlation."

Actually Cochrane on MMR gave the six autism studies a very poor press - and none of them was considered of low risk of bias. These are the individual comments:

“The study demonstrates the difficulties of drawing inferences in the absence of a non-exposed population or a clearly defined causal hypothesis”. (Re: Taylor 1999)

“The number and possible impact of biases in this study was so high that interpretation of the results is impossible”. (Re: Fombonne 2001)

“The retrospective person-time cohort study by Makela assessed the association between exposure toMMR and encephalitis (EN),aseptic meningitis (AM) and autism (AU) in a cohort of 535,544 Finnish children (95% of the surveillance cohort); the children were aged one to seven years at the time of vaccination.The authors compared the incidence of outcomes in the first three months after vaccination with the incidence in the following months and years.They concluded that there was no evidence of association. The study was weakened by the loss of 14% of the original birth cohortand the effects of the rather long time frame of follow up. What the impact of either of these factors was in terms of confounder sis open to debate, however the long follow up for autism was due to the lack of a properly constructed causal hypothesis …” (Re: Makela 2002)

“The interpretation of the study by Madsen was made difficult by the unequal length of follow up for younger cohort members as well as the use of the date of diagnosis rather than onset of symptoms of autism”. (Re: Madsen 2002)

“The conclusion, however, implied bias in the enrollment of cases which may not be representative of the rest of the autistic population of the city of Atlanta, USA where the study was set.” (Re DeStefano 2004)

“In the GPRD - based studies (Black 2003; Smeeth 2004) the precise nature of controlled unexposed to MMR and their generalisability was impossible to determine…The study (Smeeth 2004) appeared carefully conducted and well reported, however, GPRD-based MMR studies had no unexposed (to MMR)representative controls. In this study the approximately 4% to 13% seemed to be unexposed controls regarded by the authors as representative. Such a small number may indicate some bias in the selection of controls.” (Re: Smeeth 2004)

Thus the formulation "No credible evidence of an involvement of MMR with either autism or Crohn’s disease was found" is deliberately weasel and misleading. Be it also noted that only epidemiological studies were being considered so they would not produce evidence of involvement, only possible association (as in fact correctly interpreted Madsen 2001 did). This is just evidence of a sad lack of candour. The conclusion is the statement that parents should really note:

"The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate. The evidence of adverse events following immunisation with MMR cannot be separated from its role in preventing the target diseases."

They are being treated with utter bureaucratic contempt.

http://mrw.interscience.wiley.com/cochrane/clsysrev/articles/CD004407/frame.html

White&Nerdy 5.12pm 31 August 2009

(1) Neverthess, if you do not monitor adverse reactions and their sequelae as a matter of course you will not have good data, and you are quite right that the more vaccinations there are the more confused and uncertain the picture will. For this reason Bernardine Healy has once again suggested that we proceed with great caution over expanding the schedule and parents should be properly listened to.

http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/08/dr-bernadine-healy-implies-hubris-on-part-of-docs-who-deny-vaccine-autism-possibility.html

Frankly, anything else is bad faith.

(2) I don't confuse correlation with causality but two points here. (i) Epidemiological studies which have been greatly at issue here can only provide evidence of correlation anyway. This is a problem with epidemiological studies not me. (ii) The authors of the two studies should have noted the correlation even if they were also going to produce grounds for discounting it, but they did neither. They bring their own good faith into doubt by not accounting it.

(3) Why bring up Rhett's syndrome - which is biologically a separate issue from mos PDDs - except to mislead?

(4) What is the pointing in saying there is data if you cannot cite it?

(5) It is very important to ask parents when symptoms started to occur - anything but ridiculous. Of course, what is ridiculous is to take incomplete medical records as evidence of anything. More often than not, adverse reactions for example will not even be recorded, and professionals also tend to glaze over when you mention regression. This is the same kind of bias evidenced by your posts. and as for whether I believe Eric or Theresa, I definitely go with Theresa.

Hi Schwartz,

I think my point was very clear: it is pointless to discuss science with folks that can't get the basic facts correct.

A very simple example has been given: many posters here assert that there is no data on 100% unvaccinated kids.

I provided a link which demonstrated that the claim is simply not true. The details of the methods are explained in my link, but even just reading page 35:

"Zero, that is pretty obvious. They didn't get any vaccines." This simple fact is elaborated on in detail--they have a data set with completely unvaccinated kids.

The second relevant quote is from page 44:

"Here is the result for autism, where we don't see much of a trend except for a slight, but not significant, increase for the highest exposure. The overall test for trend is statistically not significant."

Schwartz this data is from June 2000 and it clearly in simple English language explains that in this sample of 110,000 kids unvaccinated kids had the same risk for autism as partially vaccinated and as fully vaccinated. Vaccination did not increase the risk for autism.

I think the situation speaks for itself.
(1) The claim that there is no data on unvaccinated kids is not true.
(2) The data from 100% unvaccinated kids is completely contrary to the idea that vaccines cause autism.
(3) None of the posters that made this error have acknowledged that they were wrong.

So of course the vaccine skeptics come to false conclusions.

Moving on...the second part of your posting is an attempt at data analysis and is simply classic.

You said: " there has been no study designed or undertaken to study vaccinated vs unvaccinated populations and it's correlation with outcome of Autism diagnosis."

And end with the standard personal attack " I can only conclude you are debating in bad faith." Yada, yada, yada....

Fortunately any person with even the most basic literacy skills can read where the link says, here is the result for autism and figure out that contrary to your assertions otherwise there is exactly data that compares autism diagnosis in vaccinated vs unvaccinated.

Then if you have some basic math skills, you can follow some of the data from the link I already provided--here it is again: http://www.putchildrenfirst.org/media/2.16.pdf

See the categories labeled autism? Those are the statistics on autism.

Since we all know that you are a literate person I conclude that you attacked me out of shame for the unbelievable incompetency of the vaccines skeptics.

I still maintain that this nonsense is mostly harmless. All you have to do is to read the words....but then you choose not to read my links before responding didn't you???

Hi Jack Humphries,

I have already posted links that:
(1) Explain in simple English (for those that aren't scientists) the methods of the study
(2) Some of the statistical analysis of the data (for those that are more quantitative)

Here they are again:
http://www.autismhelpforyou.com/HG%20IN%20VACCINES%20-%20Simpsonwood%20-%20Internet%20File.pdf

Please see pages 35 and 44 of the PDF for the English version.

And: http://www.putchildrenfirst.org/media/2.16.pdf

For the statistical analysis.

So far none of the vaccine skeptics seeming willing to actually read the links.

Will you be the first?

Hi Schwartz,

You posted:
" The Cochrane group after a systematic review of MMR studies concluded that the safety studies were inadequate."


Below is a cut/paste of the entire conclusion section from the Cochrane review:

"A U T H O R S ' C O N C L U S I O N S
Implications for practice
Existing evidence on the safety and effectiveness of MMR vaccine supports current policies of mass immunisation aimed at global measles eradication in order to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with mumps and rubella.

Implications for research
The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre and postmarketing, need to be improved and standardised definitions of adverse events should be adopted."

You did read the review before commenting on it right?

Hi Schwartz,

You posted:
" It's great that you pointed out the simple logic that when there isn't any credible science you won't find any credible conclusions. That includes a lack of positive or negative correlation."

I don't think you understand the Cochrane process. It appears that you haven't read the review....

Anyway, Cochrane has a system of evaluating studies and if the quality of science is terrible they exclude them from even being considered.

The point is that the entire vaccine skeptic movement has yet to produce even one study that was of sufficient quality that it was even worth Cochrane's time to consider it.

Contrary to your assertion otherwise, Cochrane found many quality studies that conclude that vaccines don't cause autim.

"It's great that you pointed out the simple logic that when there isn't any credible science you won't find any credible conclusions. That includes a lack of positive or negative correlation.

Congratulations on figuring out the obvious."

Somehow my guess is that you would rewrite the above if given the chance. I make this guess based on the fact that you state there is "no credible science".

So, Dr. Wakefield's work and the work he claims supports his claims is not credible?

Yes, I figured out the "obvious". I figured out that there is no credible evidence that MMR causes autism. I figured out that even with all the papers that Dr. Wakefield has published, the Cochrane report, the "gold standard" according to Dr. Wakefield, can't find any credible evidence that MMR causes autism.

Perhaps you might want to reconsider your lecture about what scientists see and don't see. Apparently, you don't see the obvious, scientist or no.

With apologies, orrections to my previous post addressed to White&Nerdy:-

(1) Neverthess, if you do not monitor adverse reactions and their sequelae as a matter of course you will not have good data, and you are quite right that the more vaccinations there are the more confused and uncertain the picture will be. For this reason Bernardine Healy has once again suggested that we proceed with great caution over expanding the schedule and parents should be properly listened to...

(3) Why bring up Rhett's syndrome - which is biologically a separate issue from most PDDs - except to mislead?

(4) What is the point in saying there is data if you cannot cite it?


Sullivan,

"Somehow my guess is that you would rewrite the above if given the chance. I make this guess based on the fact that you state there is "no credible science""

In the context of the Cochrane report which is what we're talking about (from both my initial post, and your response), there is no credible science based on the Authors conclusions. The safety (and efficacy you might note) trials are inadequate. You'll note that most of Wakefield's work were not a studies of the MMR vaccine but case studies of sick children. As such, I don't believe any were included in the Cochrane analysis, but I don't have the paper in front of me at the moment so I could be wrong on that count. Since you made sure to tell eveyone so proudly that you have the paper open in front of you I notice you didn't post any comments about his work, as John Stone has done regarding the studies you uphold as definitive.

"Yes, I figured out the "obvious". I figured out that there is no credible evidence that MMR causes autism. I figured out that even with all the papers that Dr. Wakefield has published, the Cochrane report, the "gold standard" according to Dr. Wakefield, can't find any credible evidence that MMR causes autism."

I'm not sure where the fixation on Wakefield is coming from? This debate started by you stating that the science is in and the answer is "no". I pointed out that a systematic review stated quite clearly that the safety trials were inadequate and asked how you manage to justify such a decisive answer when the evidence isn't there to support it. Now you bring up Wakefield to support your assertion that the definitive answer ? I think you should re-evaluate your logical arguments carefully.

As an aside, in case you missed it, Wakefield has stated quite clearly that he doesn't know if MMR causes Autism and suggests more study on the topic. That makes your Wakefield Strawman argument look even more silly.

"Perhaps you might want to reconsider your lecture about what scientists see and don't see. Apparently, you don't see the obvious, scientist or no."

Let me get this straight. Of the two paraphrased statements from the Cochrane report below:

1) We found no credible evidence of an association between MMR vaccine and Autism in the data we reviewed
2) There is no adequate study of efficacy or safety outcomes regarding the MMR vaccine -- we recommend more study

You chose to use 1 to support your argument in defense of a DEFINITIVE negative association.

Simple logic dictates that since the outcome of 1 is negative, the result is made irrelevant by 2. Only if poor science detected a real problem (i.e. positive association), then the findings in statement like 1 MIGHT be relevant.

Science and logic appear to have left the room you're debating in.

White&Nerdy,

"You did read the review before commenting on it right?"

Several times since it's publication. You don't seem to be making any point here. Recommended policy based on data outside of the review -- as Jack and John have already pointed out -- does not change the conclusion that inadequate study was performed and more study is required. None of the conclusions support Sullivan's assertion that the Science has found a conclusive "no" and no further study is required.

White&Nerdy,

"I don't think you understand the Cochrane process. It appears that you haven't read the review...."

Actually, I think you're having trouble understanding the debate here. The argument forwarded by Sullivan was that the science was conclusive that Autism is not associated with MMR.

"Exposure to MMR was unlikely to be associated with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, autism or aseptic meningitis (mumps)"

This statement is not conclusive at all, and the term "unlikely" has to be one of the weakest scientific terms I've seen.

"The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate."

This statement indicates there are serious problems in finding credible study of safety outcomes. This is confirmed by discussion in the paper itself. This does not support a conclusive finding at all.

"The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre and postmarketing, need to be improved and standardised definitions of adverse events should be adopted."

This is one of the reasons (ignoring the high risk of biased study as already described) they don't make any conclusive statements at all because the data being analyzed is problematic. Conclusions based on problematic data do not support definitive conclusions either.

"The point is that the entire vaccine skeptic movement has yet to produce even one study that was of sufficient quality that it was even worth Cochrane's time to consider it."

It is interesting that you feel that a particular "side" or "movement" has to produce studies. That appears to be an implicit acknowledgement that the studies produced to date are inherently biased as they were produce by scientists of a pre-disposed "side" in the debate. You're not making any scientific or logical points here.

You might want to take note that the pro-vaccine safety movement has been calling quite loudly for credible study -- much like the Cochrane report suggested as well -- so it shouldn't be a big surprise that the Cochrane report didn't have any studies from this "movement" to review.

You also seem to continue to overlook the fact that large credible studies to investigate complex problems such as this should be designed properly which includes the proper acquisition of data -- as the Cochrane report recommended. I wasn't aware that even the problematic data that exists today is made available to the "movement" you refer to.

All of the studies done to date attempt to use a hodge podge of data collected for other purposes. All of this points to the need for further study contrary to your and Sullivan's assertions.

 


Advertisement


The Latest | news as it happens

Recent Posts
test |  March 15, 2011, 4:00 pm »
Booster Shots has moved |  July 12, 2010, 6:02 pm »


Categories


Archives