Anti-Vaxxers Accidentally Fund a Study Showing No Link Between Autism and Vaccines

By Jessica Firger

Most experts today agree the belief that childhood vaccines cause autism is based on bunk science. Even still, some advocacy groups claim immunizations are responsible for raising the risk for this neurodevelopmental condition, despite a growing body of research that shows there isn’t a link. (The study that most anti-vaccination groups point to was retracted after it was found to be based on falsified data.)

Despite the science, organizations involved in the anti-vaccine movement still hope to find some evidence that vaccines threaten children’s health. For example, the autism advocacy organization SafeMinds recently funded research it hoped would prove vaccines cause autism in children. But this effort appears to have backfired for the organization—whose mission is to raise awareness about how certain environmental exposures may be linked to autism—since the study SafeMinds supported showed a link between autism and vaccines does not exist.

Between 2003 and 2013, SafeMinds provided scientists from the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine, the University of Washington, the Johnson Center for Child Health & Development and other research institutions with approximately $250,000 to conduct a long-term investigation evaluating behavioral and brain changes of baby rhesus macaques that were administered a standard course of childhood vaccines. (The National Autism Association, another organization that has questioned vaccine safety, also provided financial support for this research.) The latest paper in the multiyear project was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). In it, the researchers concluded that vaccines did not cause any brain or behavioral changes in the primates.


Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

75 COMMENTS

  1. Hey anti-vaxxers, see what happens when you do not understand the science? Please, use the information that your money helped to establish, to update your stance. You are wrong. Easy as that. However, if there was a plausible environmental culprit, wouldn’t your money, effort, and time be better spend decoding what IT is?

    Please stop throwing your money down a hole (your effort is well intentioned, in your hearts you are noble). But you are pissing in a pool. Move to the next likely culprit and dedicate yourself to finding the truth, or get the fuck out of the game.

  2. @OP – Anti-Vaxxers Accidentally Fund a Study Showing No Link Between Autism and Vaccines

    The same thing happens to Templeton sponsorship from time to time when grants are given to honest scientists in the hope of showing the compatibility of science with religious claims!

  3. Humans commonly presume causality when two events occur nearby in time. It only has to happen once. We may have evolved it to be supercautious around food poisoning.

    By that logic, breast feeding, Thomas The Tank Engine, iPhones, baby monitors, Heinz strained peaches … all cause autism.

  4. Roedy,
    The ole trope that I always trot out is that drinking milk MUST lead to drinking alcohol. I mean nearly everyone who drinks alcohol had milk first. So, milk is a gateway drug!!!

  5. It is easy to ridicule the SafeMinds group, but that may not be appropriate. They sponsored a study, which led to (for them) suprising results. Isn’t that what science is about, and shouldn’t we respect somebody publishing unexpected results of a study, in light of the fact that some people would have hidden evidence not supporting their hypothesis? Every step towards a scientific approach should be applauded instead of ridiculed.
    The litmus test will now be whether they follow the evidence they have generated, or go back to conspiracy theories.
    Of course, I can see the criticism from crookedshoes re not throwing money down a hole, and personally, I tend to agree. However, anyone investing in science gets my respect for that; for some, it just takes evidence they generated themselves before they see what others have already accepted. Aren’t we all a bit like that?

  6. Every step towards a scientific approach should be applauded instead
    of ridiculed. The litmus test will now be whether they follow the
    evidence they have generated, or go back to conspiracy theories.

    Agreed. But based on the rest of the article, Safe Minds is reluctant to accept the data.

    SafeMinds also believes that the research team behind the new PNAS
    study may have cherry-picked their data

    And again,

    But Sallie Bernard, president of SafeMinds, says she would at least
    like to see a re-analysis of the newest data.

    It appears they are not willing to follow the evidence.

    Still, I get your final point: personally, I would still like to see GMO labels.

  7. Vicki #9
    Oct 20, 2016 at 4:13 am

    SafeMinds also believes that the research team behind the new PNAS study may have cherry-picked their data

    Doesn’t psychological projection work wonderfully at confirming the thought processes of the deluded!

    But Sallie Bernard, president of SafeMinds, says she would at least
    like to see a re-analysis of the newest data.

    It appears they are not willing to follow the evidence.

    If they were willing to follow the evidence, they would simply have referred to the numerous earlier studies, rather than sponsoring a new one, in the hope of reaching a different result which matches their wish-thinking preconceptions!
    (Perhaps a new “reinterpretation” will match their confirmation biases, – IF they can find some deluded stooge wearing the “right” sort of pseudo-science blinkers!)

    “SafeMinds” clearly refers to fixed views locked away in a safe in a locked mental vault, where no additions, modifications, or up-dates, can be made!

  8. @OP – Most experts today agree the belief that childhood vaccines cause autism is based on bunk science.

    Not only that, but they also know whose bunk science it was, which falsified, corrupt, and incompetent studies promoted that view, and how the author of those studies was struck off the British Medical Register and barred from practising as a doctor, for gross misconduct as a result of persisting with them! – before he was welcomed by the quacks of America to pose as an expert!

  9. Brilliant.

    A little like the sponsers of the archaeology of the Bible lands in hope of proving the Bible?

  10. Pinball1970 #12
    Oct 21, 2016 at 8:19 am

    A little like the sponsers of the archaeology of the Bible lands in hope of proving the Bible?

    There are Zionist fundamentalist archaeologists who have solved that problem!

    They carry a copy of the Torah on site to ensure they are “interpreting the archaeology properly”! 🙂

  11. Anti-Vaxxers Accidentally Fund a Study Showing No Link Between Autism and Vaccines

    Is it really an accident for any study to end up finding no evidence of a cause-effect relationship between two variables, when an overwhelming amount of previous studies had already pointed to the very same conclusion?

  12. @15 @Alan

    They carry a copy of the Torah on site to ensure they are “interpreting the archaeology properly”!

    Yes a bible in one hand and a spade in the other – not my quote, its from “Archaeology of the Bible lands BC” Magnus Magnussen.
    I loved that one.

    Shall we hold our breath and wait for the anti vaxers to make a statement?

    An apology?

  13. Pinball1970 #17
    Oct 23, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Shall we hold our breath and wait for the anti vaxers to make a statement?

    Interestingly, I was watching an episode of “The Incredible Human Journey” presented last night on BBC4 by Dr. Alice Roberts. – Tracking ancestral human migrations out of Africa.

    Some Chinese palaeontologists were examining a hypotheses which suggested that the Chinese had evolved separately from Homo erectus – based on skull and facial structure.

    One scientist who was taken with that idea, decided that this might be confirmed by DNA analysis, so he collected a sample of over 2,000 Asians’ DNA, to look for a male marker gene which had arisen in Africa 70,000 years ago – the absence of which would suggest a lack of contact with those migrations.

    The marker was present in 100% of his samples, so he rejected and discarded the notion of separate evolution from H. erectus, and accepted that all modern humans are descended from those who migrated out of Africa!

    Scientists follow the evidence!
    Pseudo-scientists keep repeatedly asking the same questions in face of the evidence, in the hope of getting new answers which match their preconceptions!

  14. Alan4discussion #18
    Oct 23, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Pinball1970 #17
    Oct 23, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Interestingly, I was watching an episode of “The Incredible Human Journey” presented last night on BBC4 by Dr. Alice Roberts. – Tracking ancestral human migrations out of Africa.

    Well that program is from wayyyy way back in 2009. Nothing in it is true. It’s all been debunked. And anyway she’s only a 5 or maybe a 6 at best. I mean would you? I wouldn’t. She’s clearly a Hillary plant put out there to discredit me and the creationist beliefs of my supporters. . Arrrggghhh. What’s happening to me? Someone help. I’m not even American.

  15. @18, 20 Me too. Bought the excellent book as well.

    I just thought I’d note how we are starting to see a usefull upsurge in women scientists becoming TV presenters/writers in this country. This is about time. Paleontologist Tori Herridge and astronomer Maggie Aderin-Pocock are producing great material and doing a lot to change the face of science as seen by the British public…stuff them…as seen by kids.

  16. ikeM

    Congratulations!! So all Xs or XnY?

    Get them BioShock to play, teach them to scuba dive and soon enough they’ll be presenting Nova programs on the origins of life from Mid Atlantic City, half resort, half marine science University. Built by some hot black smokers…

  17. This is what happens when you treat science like religion. believing if you throw more money at it it will treat you favourably and represent you over others.

    I often wonder if some of the therapeutic uses for cannabis would never have come to light without the Reagan administration throwing money at science to prove it caused cancer.

    I can respect those who are so convinced of something they will use science to prove their point, just so long as they accept the results either way

  18. @21
    Don’t forget professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou!

    A great series on Asherah, real theological archaeology.

    I would recommend her book, “Land of our fathers” but I have still not read it!

  19. There are good reasons to look on this report with a good deal of scepticism.

    Safeminds wrote:

    QUOTE:
    These papers ignore the initial phase findings, and they contradict findings from earlier reports of the same, second phase.
    :END OF QUOTE

    Also, the researchers have refused to publish their raw data, or to make it available privately. That sounds very suspicious to me.

    https://safeminds.org/blog/2015/10/19/safeminds-review-of-vaccine-safety-and-autism-like-outcomes-in-a-non-human-primate-model-identifies-distortion-in-public-reporting-and-argues-need-for-full-disclosure-of-research-documents/

  20. Deeply dubious funding organisation set up to prove an old and dubious hypothesis agreeable to their highly motivated donors…

    SafeMinds is dedicated to resolving the autism epidemic by identifying the environmental factors underlying autism causality and promoting development and uptake of effective treatments. We are interested in a variety of potential agents hypothesized to increase autism risk. Among these are the vaccine components thimerosal and the vaccine schedule as a whole. Our supporters, most of whom are impacted by autism, rely on us to communicate or support credible science on this topic and to follow the science even on controversial topics. This primate model is an important component of our efforts to examine this potential contributor to some cases of autism.

    So when they don’t get the result they pay for it gets awkward…

    When SafeMinds questioned the discrepancies, we were asked to be patient as the findings were still preliminary or were told the disappearance of significance was due to the larger size of the final sample. Although our funding contract stipulates that we receive notification and advance copies of accepted manuscripts, this requirement was not followed for either of the two recent papers. We have been unable to provide an assessment of the published work until now.

    If the funder is better able to review than the researchers, why are they not fit to research?

    SafeMinds asks for regular updates from investigators, as is standard procedure for grant administration.

    The researchers simply want to deliver great work and get the kudos of posterity. But with this regular marking of their homework by the funders, there is a risk all their invested labour in the work gets binned.

  21. Shrievelty #27
    Sep 2, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Also, the researchers have refused to publish their raw data, or to make it available privately. That sounds very suspicious to me.

    This is just the same sort of doubt-mongering junk as comes from climate change deniers!

    Usually when we look at the people who are demanding “raw data”, we find they are too scientifically illiterate or bigoted, even to understand clearly explained data!

    It has pretty well been established beyond doubt, that the attribution of autism to vaccines, was a combination of (now struck off ex-doctor) Andrew Wakefield’s pseudo-science, incompetence, and fraud, in the first place, so there was no scientific need for this study at all!

    It was only sponsored because some people don’t want to believe the numerous competent studies which have debunked Wakefield’s fake claims and wish to continue to generate false doubts!

  22. phil rimmer #28
    Sep 2, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Deeply dubious funding organisation set up to prove an old and dubious hypothesis agreeable to their highly motivated donors…

    The is good coverage of the issues here:-

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136032/

    The MMR vaccine and autism: Sensation, refutation, retraction, and fraud

    “Safe Minds” is one of those propagandist “alternative names” for Bigoted Liars”! – rather like the ID evolution deniers of “Truth-in-Science”!

  23. Alan4discussion #29

    You wrote:
    “It has pretty well been established beyond doubt, that the attribution of autism to vaccines, was a combination of (now struck off ex-doctor) Andrew Wakefield’s pseudo-science, incompetence, and fraud, in the first place, so there was no scientific need for this study at all!”

    May I invite you to take another look at the subject? Leave Wakefield on one side and examine the other evidence.

    All MMR safety studies fail adequately to take into account Healthy User Bias, as explained in a peer-reviewed paper written by two CDC researchers.

    http://vaccinepapers.org/healthy-user-bias-why-most-vaccine-safety-studies-are-wrong/

    Paul Offit, the most prominent advocate of vaccination, said that there were 17 studies which proved vaccines did not cause autism. Leaving aside the fact that it is never possible to prove a negative, the 17 studies he mentioned are all faulty.

    Here Safeminds has gathered together detailed analysis of 16 of those studies, followed by an analysis of the 17th.

    QUOTE;
    Special Report: What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us?

    A NOTE FROM SAFEMINDS:

    There are 16 epidemiological studies here on MMR vaccines, thimerosal and autism. These studies represent the most often cited papers by scientists, public health officials and members of the media when trying to refute any evidence of an association between vaccinations and autism.

    There are serious methodological limitations, design flaws, conflicts of interest or other problems related to each of these 16 studies. These flaws have been pointed out by government officials, other researchers, medical review panels and even the authors of the studies themselves.

    Taken together, the limitations of these studies make it impossible to conclude that thimerosal and MMR vaccines are not associated with autism.

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2011/07/part-1-.html

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2011/07/part-2-.html

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2011/07/part-3-.html

    The whole on a .pdf…

    http://www.rescuepost.com/files/vaccines-and-autism-epidemiology-rebuttal.pdf

    :END OF QUOTE

    The 17th study, the ‘Jain’ study, is extraordinarily poor. Here is some analysis including criticism from a contributor who describes himself as a genuine rocket scientist.
    http://www.vaxchoicevt.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Analysis-of-JAMA-Study-April-21.pdf

  24. Morpheus #8
    Oct 20, 2016 at 2:56 am

    The litmus test will now be whether they follow the evidence they have generated, or go back to conspiracy theories.

    When it come to know-it-all ignorant bigots, the leopard does not change its spots! – as the link to the latest doubt-mongering of their sponsored report shows @#27!

  25. Shrievelty #31
    Sep 2, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Alan4discussion #29

    You wrote:
    “It has pretty well been established beyond doubt, that the attribution of autism to vaccines, was a combination of (now struck off ex-doctor) Andrew Wakefield’s pseudo-science, incompetence, and fraud, in the first place, so there was no scientific need for this study at all!”

    May I invite you to take another look at the subject? Leave Wakefield on one side

    Why! He is the original source to the fake information which others have subsequently clung on to!
    My link @#30 explained it very clearly! – There are no reputable studies supporting his view!

    and examine the other evidence.

    Unlike my link @#30, those links are not peer-reviewed expert evidence in the journals of reputable science and medical organisations!
    They news article opinions from anti-vaxxer pseudo-science junk websites!

    Answers in Genesis also has pseudo-science articles allegedly refuting science papers about radiometric dating, geology, and the age of the Solar-System, and universe, but real scientists also laugh at them!

    Denials of serious scientific studies, by ignorant science duffers mean nothing – although they can cause mischief by conning the uneducated though cheap sensationalist newspaper stories, written and sold by irresponsible incompetent people, who neither know nor care about damage to other people caused by what they write! !

    The consensus of expert medical opinion is quite clear, regardless of what various campaigning ignoramuses choose to believe.

    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001526.htm

    Autism spectrum disorder

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder. It often appears in the first 3 years of life. ASD affects the brain’s ability to develop normal social and communication skills.

    Causes

    The exact cause of ASD isn’t known. It’s likely a number of factors that lead to ASD. Research shows that genes may be involved since ASD runs in some families. Certain medicines taken during pregnancy may also lead to ASD in the child.

    Other causes have been suspected, but not proven. Some scientists believe that damage to a part of the brain, called the amygdala, may be involved. Others are looking at whether a virus may trigger symptoms.

    Some parents have heard that vaccines may cause ASD.
    But studies have found no link between vaccines and ASD.
    All expert medical and government groups state that there is no link between vaccines and ASD.

  26. Shrievelty #31
    Sep 2, 2017 at 11:32 am

    The 17th study, the ‘Jain’ study, is extraordinarily poor.
    Here is some analysis including criticism from a contributor who describes himself as a genuine rocket scientist.

    Why would anyone regard a rocket engineer as competent to contradict the specialist work of geneticists, neuroscientists, medical researchers, biologists and doctors?
    Only a self-deluded clown, would quote that as a badge of (fake) authority!

  27. Alan 4 discussion, what is needed in analysing data is an impartial statistician, not the people you mention.

    Alfred Russel Wallace pointed this out in 1900, and it is just as true today. A rocket scientist comes pretty close, certainly closer than the people you listed.

  28. Shrievelty #37
    Sep 2, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Alan 4 discussion, what is needed in analysing data is an impartial statistician, not the people you mention.

    . . . and you seem to think antivaxxer conspiracy websites are competent and “impartial”!!!

    When I quote “All expert medical and government groups state that there is no link between vaccines and ASD.” that includes people competent in statistical analysis, from the expert professional scientific bodies, and government medical agencies, in technically developed countries, using scientific papers from expert professional journals!
    It is indicative of the ignorance of the people writing on these conspiracy theorist websites that they think that the world’s experts are not proficient at these basic scientific skills!

    These are NOT anecdotal accounts from individual doctors or amateur personal opinions like the ones you are quoting from quack websites.
    They are a consensus from thousands of experts!
    If anyone publishes false claims about support from these bodies, THEY will quickly and publicly challenge and dispute the claims!

    Many of them are quite independent of “Big Pharma”!

    much vaccine damage.

    Nobody has seen a high percentages of “vaccine damage”!
    What has been seen is outbreaks of dangerous diseases – breaking out due to scare stories about vaccines and reduced vaccination levels in populations!
    Vaccine damage is very rare, provided warnings about contra-indications and shots during pregnancy etc., are heeded by medical staff!

    https://medlineplus.gov/immunization.html
    U.S. National Library of Medicine – MedlinePlus

    Shots may hurt a little, but the diseases they can prevent are a lot worse. Some are even life-threatening. Immunization shots, or vaccinations, are essential. They protect against things like measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Immunizations are important for adults as well as children.

    Your immune system helps your body fight germs by producing substances to combat them. Once it does, the immune system “remembers” the germ and can fight it again. Vaccines contain germs that have been killed or weakened. When given to a healthy person, the vaccine triggers the immune system to respond and thus build immunity. NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

  29. Shrievelty #39
    Sep 2, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Alan4discussion. you have great confidence in authority figures, but I think it is better to apply logic and reason.

    Logic and reason are thought processes, – not badges of asserted authority for unevidenced or quack claims!

    You confidence is misplaced according to the editors of the best known medical journals:

    While I don’t doubt, that some articles sponsored by Big Pharma or partisan organisations may be misleading, it is VERY unlikely that peer-reviewed multiple articles in assorted top journals are all false in the same way over a period of years or decades!

    All your link does is suggest vague doubts unrelated to this well evidenced information without even mentioning autism!

    .. . and while we are looking at the issue of doubtful claims, this self proclaimed “World’s Best Known Medical Journal:” which I have not heard of previously, is not listed among the world’s TOP medical journals with which I am more familiar!
    It does however quote from some of these, which would confirm that some dubious material is published.

    https://www.healthwriterhub.com/top-medical-journals/

    The world’s top journals

    New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)

    Nature

    The Lancet

    The British Medical Journal (BMJ)

    Annals of Internal Medicine

    The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

    Interestingly your Collective Evolution Journal link, contains this paragraph!

    “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

    Which perfectly describes some of the flaws in Wakefield’s study – right down to his undeclared conflicts of interest due to having a financial stake in a rival product which would benefit from a swap to alternative vaccines!

    Of course on serious issues like this one, science journal articles are challenged by expert peers, and fake articles like Wakefield’s are debunked and publicly withdrawn!

  30. The webpage to which I linked did not claim to be among the world’s best known medical journals.

    It gave that accolade to The Lancet and the NEJM.

    There is a similar statement from John P. A. Ioannidis , Professor of Medicine and of Health Research and Policy at Stanford University School of Medicine and a Professor of Statistics at Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences. Again peer-reviewed (for that is what is worth) and undisputed as far as I know:

    ‘Why Most Published Research Findings Are False’

    http://robotics.cs.tamu.edu/RSS2015NegativeResults/pmed.0020124.pdf

    You have a rosy view of publication if you think that The Lancet withdraws the half of papers which Horton considers are likely to be false. Very few papers indeed are retracted by these famous publications.

  31. Hilarious use of the marvelous John Ioannidis seminal 2005 paper causing much cleaning up of medical science papers (Check out Ben Goldacre, Gary Taubes, Nosek and John Arnold too.)

    It is precisely these folks intention to put a stop to this sort of vested interest manipulation indeed in an April 2017 paper in the Journal of Epidemiology, Ioannidis railed against the misuse of his very work by vested interest groups to give themselves cover…

    The article discusses a number of criticisms that have been raised against evidence-based medicine, such as focusing on benefits and ignoring adverse events; being interested in averages and ignoring the wide variability in individual risks and responsiveness; ignoring clinician-patient interaction and clinical judgement; leading to some sort of reductionism; and falling prey to corruption from conflicts of interest. I argue that none of these deficiencies are necessarily inherent to evidence-based medicine. In fact, work in evidence-based medicine has contributed a lot towards minimizing these deficiencies in medical research and medical care. However, evidence-based medicine is paying the price of its success: having become more widely recognized, it is manipulated and misused to support subverted or perverted agendas that are hijacking its reputation value. Sometimes the conflicts behind these agendas are so strong that one worries about whether the hijacking of evidence-based medicine is reversible. Nevertheless, evidence-based medicine is a valuable conceptual toolkit and it is worth to try to remove the biases of the pirates who have hijacked its ship.

  32. Shrievelty #42
    Sep 2, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    The webpage to which I linked did not claim to be among the world’s best known medical journals.

    Sorry about that! I may have misread it, due to the positioning of the headline beside the name of the author.

    It gave that accolade to The Lancet and the NEJM.

    Of course the Lancet article did not say the half of the LEADING medical journals, which check their sources much more carefully than others, had this level of corrupted information, but your link put its own spin on the story.

    @your link! – Published research findings are sometimes refuted by subsequent evidence, with ensuing confusion and disappointment. Refutation and controversy is seen across the range of research designs, from clinical trials and traditional epidemiological studies [1–3] to the most modern molecular research [4,5]. There is increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims [6–8]. However, this should not be surprising. It can be proven that most claimed research findings
    are false.
    Here I will examine the key factors that influence this problem and
    some corollaries thereof. . . . . . .

    This does not say that they remain false after post-publication scrutiny, and independent attempts at replication of results by other specialists.
    This is part of the scientific process, which is why I pointed out that confidence is increased with each independently replicated study, and each independently published journal report.
    The attempts at independent replication of results, are what exposes false and incompetent claims.

    You have a rosy view of publication if you think that The Lancet withdraws the half of papers which Horton considers are likely to be false. Very few papers indeed are retracted by these famous publications.

    Nobody said half of the Lancet’s claims were false!

    Only a small proportion of submitted papers are published by these leading journals in the first place! (see my link @#41) The rejected ones would be submitted to other less discriminating publications.

    @#41 link – It’s very difficult to be published in The Lancet. Only 5% of submitted manuscripts accepted for publication in the Lancet family of nine general medicine speciality journals.

    Research published in The Lancet is considered ethical and credible.

    Top medical journals have an expert peer-review process

    When sourcing evidence in your writing, it’s important to identify journals with a rigorous peer-review process.

    NEJM receives nearly 5,000 article submissions every year and adopts a rigorous peer review process – as well as extensive revisions by at least five experts and at least one statistical review before publication.

    Of course garbage quality claims, which no reputable journal will publish, are reproduced on quack and conspiracy theory websites – along with cherry-picked extracts and quote mining from reputable journals to give a semblance of respectability!

  33. You do not seem to be taking into account the fact that, in a peer-reviewed paper, Fine and Chen (two CDC researchers) have shown ALL safety studies of the MMR vaccine to be wrong.

    That means that the ‘overwhelming evidence’ that vaccines are not connected with autism is false.

    Studies which exhibit the fault which they identify include the top 17 which Paul Offit puts forward as the best evidence that there is no connection between vaccines and autism. Fine and Chen’s finding has not been disputed as far as I know, merely ignored.

    http://vaccinepapers.org/healthy-user-bias-why-most-vaccine-safety-studies-are-wrong/

  34. Shrievelty #45
    Sep 2, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    You do not seem to be taking into account the fact that, in a peer-reviewed paper, Fine and Chen (two CDC researchers) have shown ALL safety studies of the MMR vaccine to be wrong.

    Fine and Chen’s finding has not been disputed as far as I know, merely ignored.

    @your link! – But vaccinated and unvaccinated people are not similar. Healthy people are more likely to choose to be vaccinated. People with chronic illness don’t want the risk of vaccination. Consequently, background (baseline) rates of diseases tend to be higher in the unvaccinated.

    It is common practice in medicine to avoid vaccination of people with pre-existing health problems. Good doctors do not give vaccines to people that already have signs of neurological or immune disorders, for example.
    Consequently, people with these health problems become concentrated in the unvaccinated control group.

    Says whom? I find it hard to believe that ALL the safety researchers published in top journals, would make such beginner student level mistakes, and no one would notice during checking review processes!

    Only utterly incompetent researchers would use people unvaccinated because of contra health indications, as a control group to compare with a healthy vaccinated sample!

    Any competent study, would seek matching initial health profiles in both sample groups!

    Fine and Chen’s finding has not been disputed as far as I know, merely ignored.

    It is hardly surprising that this sort of incompetent elementary blunder, leads to a false claim being ignored and dismissed if it is applied to vaccines in general rather than one specifically flawed study!

    That means that the ‘overwhelming evidence’ that vaccines are not connected with autism is false.

    Did you mention logic somewhere earlier? Epic fail!!

    I see you have again linked an anti-vax quack website, which also , seems to have failed to notice that the quoted study was on the influenza vaccine studies NOT MMR or vaccines in general!

  35. Here is another one who does not put much trust in peer-review, even in the top journals. Richard Smith was editor of the British Medical Journal and chief executive of the BMJ Publishing Group for 13 years.

    “People have a great many fantasies about peer review, and one of the most powerful is that it is a highly objective, reliable, and consistent process.”

    Peer review: a flawed process at the heart of science and journals

    http://europepmc.org/articles/PMC1420798

  36. “Says whom? I find it hard to believe that ALL the safety researchers published in top journals, would make such beginner student level mistakes, and no one would notice during checking review processes!”

    Again, you choose to trust people rather than to look critically at the studies. You might take a look at the papers which I posted above, and at the criticisms, many of which come from well-qualified people.

  37. I see you have again linked an anti-vax quack website, which also , seems to have failed to notice that the quoted study was on the influenza vaccine studies NOT MMR or vaccines in general!

    The Fine and Chen paper was concerned with principles which apply to all vaccine safety studies. It made particular reference to a few vaccines, none of them for influenza.
    http://vaccinepapers.org/wp-content/uploads/confounding_in_studies_of_adverse_reactions_to_vaccines.pdf

  38. Shrievelty #47
    Sep 2, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Here is another one who does not put much trust in peer-review, even in the top journals. Richard Smith was editor of the British Medical Journal and chief executive of the BMJ Publishing Group for 13 years.

    Actually if we ignore cherry picked bit and concentrate on his conclusions:-

    CONCLUSION

    So peer review is a flawed process, full of easily identified defects with little evidence that it works. Nevertheless, it is likely to remain central to science and journals because there is no obvious alternative, and scientists and editors have a continuing belief in peer review.

    It is far from perfect, but is the best system we have for initially weeding out flawed and faked studies!

    Like all human systems, it is only as good as the people who match the skills and integrity of reviewers to the task in selecting the initial material for publication.

    It is the follow-up process when the studies are replicated and used by the wider body of specialist expert readers of the journals, that solid confirmations or refutations “of easily identified defects”, come into place.

    However with all it faults and limitations, it is thousands of times better than the fanciful bigoted wish thinking, found on conspiracy theory and quack medicine sites!

    As I pointed out earlier, many of these are quack websites are written by people who would fail these subjects at basic school biology level!

  39. Shrievelty #49
    Sep 2, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    The Fine and Chen paper was concerned with principles which apply to all vaccine safety studies.
    It made particular reference to a few vaccines, none of them for influenza.

    I referred to the pasted quote in your link!
    (Since at least 2005, non-CDC researchers have pointed out the seeming impossibility that influenza vaccines . . . . )

    Not the now linked Am JEpidemiol 1992; Paper! Volume 136 Number 2 – July 15,1992 – **American Journal of EPIDEMIOLOGY
    Copyright © 1992 by The Johns Hopkins University

    Of course it is rather foolish to suggest that science has not moved on since the the 1990s, or that an elementary beginner level research sampling blunder, which was spotted by me within seconds, would have been missed by a whole string of reviewers and subsequent replication experiments!

  40. The Fine and Chen paper was there in my original link. I had referred to CDC researchers, not non-CDC researchers. Clearly you had skipped the link, which is why I posted it just now.

    Of course it is rather foolish to suggest that science has not moved on since the the 1990s, or that an elementary beginner level research sampling blunder, which was spotted by me within seconds, would have been missed by a whole string of reviewers and subsequent replication experiments!

    Check out the papers for yourself. I agree it is amazing that the papers passed review – and continue to be quoted – even though they include such a beginner’s mistake. They are the best 17 according to Offit! It just shows you have to check for yourself, and not take the word of authority on such matters.

  41. In case you missed it when I posted above, here is the link to 16 of those 17 studies, along with comments from their critics. In some case the authors themselves have pointed out the limitations of their own studies, but their remarks have been ignored by those who quote the studies in order to promote vaccination.

    http://www.rescuepost.com/files/vaccines-and-autism-epidemiology-rebuttal.pdf

    “There are serious methodological limitations, design flaws, conflicts of interest or other problems related to each of these 16 studies. These flaws have been pointed out by government officials, other researchers, medical review panels and even the authors of the studies themselves.

    Taken together, the limitations of these studies make it impossible to conclude that thimerosal and MMR vaccines are not associated with autism.”

  42. Shrievelty #53
    Sep 3, 2017 at 2:21 am

    Check out the papers for yourself. I agree it is amazing that the papers passed review – and continue to be quoted – even though they include such a beginner’s mistake. They are the best 17 according to Offit!

    If anti-vaxxers have cherry-picked some flaws in some studies, that makes absolutely no difference to all the other studies where samples are properly calculated.

    The fact is, that vaccines world wide have greatly reduced or eliminated deadly diseases which injured, crippled or killed thousands or millions.

    http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/vaccination-saves-lives.aspx

    It just shows you have to check for yourself, and not take the word of authority on such matters.

    Are you claiming to be personally capable of checking peer-review level scientific research? – Because if you are not capable, what you are saying, is that you choose to believe the superficial perceptions a few unqualified amateurs, mavericks and charlatans, rather than a whole string of the world’s independent experts!

  43. Shrievelty #54
    Sep 3, 2017 at 2:40 am

    thimerosal and MMR vaccines

    I have found it laughable that anti-vaxxers in the US, make a big issue out of microscopic amounts of thimerosal mercury preservative, when many of them are REGULARLY obliviously drinking and eating, much greater quantities of a form of mercury which actually IS toxic (from coal power-plant pollution), in their drinking water and in fish!

    https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/patient-ed/conversations/downloads/vacsafe-thimerosal-color-office.pdf

    In 1999, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was required by law to assess the amount of mercury in all the products the agency
    oversees, not just vaccines. The U.S. Public Health Service decided
    that as much mercury as possible should be removed from vaccines,
    and thimerosal was the only source of mercury in vaccines.

    Even though there was no evidence that thimerosal in vaccines was
    dangerous, the decision to remove it was a made as a precautionary
    measure
    to decrease overall exposure to mercury among young infants.
    This decision was possible because childhood vaccines could be
    reformulated to leave out thimerosal without threatening their safety,
    effectiveness, and purity.
    Today, no childhood vaccine used in the U.S.—except some
    formulations of flu vaccine in multi-dose vials—use thimerosal
    as a preservative.
    .

    Was thimerosal used in all childhood vaccines?

    No. A few vaccines contained other preservatives, and they still
    do.
    Some other vaccines, including the measles, mumps, and
    rubella vaccine never contained any preservative or mercury
    .

    As I said earlier! Anti-vaxxers who have no idea what they are talking about, CHOOSE to believe conspiracy theorists, who also have no idea what they are talking about, rather than listen to the world’s experts who have studied and tested the subject in detail, and are self-critical in order to continue to improve services and safety!

    Taken together, the limitations of these studies make it impossible to conclude that thimerosal and MMR vaccines are not associated with autism.”

    Anyone who was engaged in competent research and competent reasoning rather than ignorant mud-slinging, might have noticed that MMR vaccines do not contain thimerosal!

  44. Anyone who was engaged in competent research and competent reasoning rather than ignorant mud-slinging, might have noticed that MMR vaccines do not contain thimerosal!

    It did not make that claim. Perhaps, if you would care to look at the .pdf, you would be able to comment on the precise criticisms.

  45. Shrievelty #56
    Sep 3, 2017 at 6:57 am

    You are classifying the Institute of Medicine as one of a few unqualified amateurs, mavericks and charlatans.

    Have they published anything relevant to support the conclusion from the Coalition for SAFEMINDS quack website on your link – which does not pass any review or scrutiny by any competent scientific body?

    SAFEMINDS quack website -@#54 – Taken together, the limitations of these studies make it impossible to conclude that thimerosal and MMR vaccines are not associated with autism.”

  46. The IOM has published crictism of many of those papers, as you can see in the .pdf.

    Safeminds wrote that it was impossible to conclude that thimerosal vaccines are not associated with autism, and the same was true for MMR vaccines.

    Remember these studies are the ones which Paul Offit selected as the best there are to support a pro-vaccination stance. If they are suspect, then the whole case for vaccine safety is suspect.

  47. Shrievelty #58
    Sep 3, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Anyone who was engaged in competent research and competent reasoning rather than ignorant mud-slinging, might have noticed that MMR vaccines do not contain thimerosal!

    It did not make that claim. Perhaps, if you would care to look at the .pdf, you would be able to comment on the precise criticisms.

    I really have better things to do than go over 91 pages of contorted mental gymnastics of a conspiracy theorist quack website which has no credentials of integrity or competence!

    As I said @#57 – anyone who is into unevidenced babblings about thimerosal, has simply shown that they have no credibility in the world of science, because not only can they not competently read research papers, but they cannot even do basic chemistry!

  48. Shrievelty #60
    Sep 3, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Remember these studies are the ones which Paul Offit selected as the best there are to support a pro-vaccination stance. If they are suspect, then the whole case for vaccine safety is suspect.

    This is pure asserted doubt-mongering! – Pretending that there is some default position supporting Alexander’s fraudulent claims if faults can be nit-picked in some studies!

    There was no basis for his claims in the first place – apart from him seeking to profit from his investment in an alternative vaccine, if the rival MMR could be discredited!
    The man was struck off as a UK doctor for his incompetence and unethical dishonesty!

    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001658.htm

    Congenital rubella is a condition that occurs in an infant whose mother is infected with the virus that causes German measles. Congenital means the condition is present at birth.

    Congenital rubella occurs when the rubella virus in the mother affects the developing baby in the first 3 months of pregnancy. After the fourth month, if the mother has a rubella infection, it is less likely to harm the developing baby.

    The number of babies born with congenital rubella is much smaller since the rubella vaccine was developed.

    Pregnant women who are not vaccinated for rubella and who have not had the disease in the past risk infecting themselves and their unborn babies.

    Symptoms

    Symptoms in the infant may include:

    Cloudy corneas or white appearance of pupil
    Deafness
    Developmental delay
    Excessive sleepiness
    Irritability
    Low birth weight
    Below average mental functioning (intellectual disability)
    Seizures
    Small head size
    Skin rash at birth

    Possible Complications

    Complications may involve many parts of the body, including:

    Eyes:

    Clouding of the lens of the eye (cataracts)
    Damage to the optic nerve (glaucoma)
    Inflammation of the retina (retinitis)

    Heart:

    A blood vessel that usually closes shortly after birth
    remains open (patent ductus arteriosus)
    Narrowing of the large artery that delivers oxygen-rich blood
    to the heart (pulmonary artery stenosis)
    Other heart defects

    Central nervous system:

    Intellectual disability
    Difficulty with physical movement (motor disability)
    Small head from poor brain development
    Brain infection (encephalitis)
    Infection of the spinal column and tissue around the brain
    (meningitis)

    Other:

    Deafness
    Low blood platelet count
    Enlarged liver and spleen
    Abnormal muscle tone
    Bone disease

    Only an idiot would risk babies suffering from Congenital rubella because of silly unevidenced scare stories about vaccinations!

  49. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs114/en/

    There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented.
    Polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life.

    Polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350 000 cases then, to 37 reported cases in 2016. As a result of the global effort to eradicate the disease, more than 16 million people have been saved from paralysis.
    As long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio. Failure to eradicate polio from these last remaining strongholds could result in as many as 200 000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world.

  50. Shrievelty #31
    Sep 2, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Alan4discussion #29 – You wrote:
    “It has pretty well been established beyond doubt, that the attribution of autism to vaccines, was a combination of (now struck off ex-doctor) Andrew Wakefield’s pseudo-science, incompetence, and fraud, in the first place, so there was no scientific need for this study at all!”

    All MMR safety studies fail adequately to take into account Healthy User Bias, as explained in a peer-reviewed paper written by two CDC researchers.

    There may well be “Healthy user bias” in general statistics routinely collected regionally or nationally, – as distinct from chosen profiles in balanced samples for experimental studies, but it is a crass assumption to ASSUME that the bias will be in any particular direction, or will give errors in any consistently particular direction. Each type of vaccination programme is different, and each population is different.

    For example: – in the case of seasonal flu vaccinations, (such as the one you quoted earlier) those weakened by other medical conditions or old age, are specifically prioritised for vaccination BECAUSE they are more vulnerable!
    Others are exempt from vaccinations, because of contra-indications but are still protected, provided their numbers are small, and that the bulk of their population has immunity from vaccination which restricts the spread of the infection.

    Sweeping ASSUMPTIONS about “healthy user bias”, are just another example of people who do not understand basic procedures, cherry picking items they have misunderstood, in the hope that citing some reputable publication, will add credibility to their nonsensical claims!

  51. Shrievelty #65
    Sep 3, 2017 at 10:44 am

    If you will not read the criticisms, then there is no point in arguing.

    I am quite happy to read informed criticisms, in context, from reputable science and medical bodies and researchers, but looking at the asserted opinions of ignoramuses on anti-vaxxer junk websites, is a waste of everyone’s time.

    If you want to start with a rational argument, you need to address the links I have provided to the world’s most competent sources and libraries of medical information, and also take seriously the huge benefits of vaccination, in reducing and eliminating infectious diseases all over the world!

  52. Shrievelty #65
    Sep 3, 2017 at 10:44 am

    If you will not read the criticisms, then there is no point in arguing.

    I have already addressed, various flawed notions which have been asserted on the quack website you persist in linking to, so having established that they regularly fail to competently deal with basic issues, there seems little point in pursuing more of their blundering misconceptions, rather than looking at competent and evidence based information, on managing the small risks and large benefits of vaccinations.

  53. Alan4discussion #57
    Sep 3, 2017 at 6:58 am

    thimerosal and MMR vaccines

    I have found it laughable that anti-vaxxers in the US,
    make a big issue out of microscopic amounts
    of thimerosal mercury preservative,
    when many of them are REGULARLY obliviously drinking and eating,
    much greater quantities of a form of mercury
    which actually IS toxic (from coal power-plant pollution),
    in their drinking water and in fish!

    http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/water_quality/quality1/30-08-methylmercury.htm

    What is methylmercury and why is it such a concern in aquatic environments?

    Mercury is found in the environment as a result of natural and human activities. The amount of mercury that cycles in the environment has increased since the industrial age. The main source of mercury is air emissions from power generation and other industrial and waste disposal activities. During its movement among the atmosphere, land, and water, mercury undergoes a series of complex chemical transformations.

    Most attention toward mercury pollution has focused on methylmercury because it has been found to be a potent neurotoxin. Research has also shown that this form of mercury has the capacity to bioaccumulate, in the aquatic food chain, to concentrations that are a million-fold that of the background aquatic system.
    Methylmercury is highly toxic to mammals, including people, and causes a number of adverse effects.

    Health studies and information showing neurotoxicity, particularly in developing organisms, are most abundant. The brain is the most sensitive organ for which suitable data are available to quantify a dose-response relationship.
    A recent study by the National Academy of Science concluded that the population at highest risk is the children of women who consume large amounts of fish and seafood during pregnancy, and that the risk to that population is likely to be sufficient to result in an increase in the number of children who have to struggle to keep up in school and who might require remedial classes or special education.

    According to a 2005 EPA study, women living in US coastal communities – and presumably eating more fish than inland residents do – had higher average blood levels of methylmercury.

    Of course the mercury pollution is also present in fish caught from lakes and rivers where coal power-plants operate or mine-water is pumped out!

  54. Shrievelty #65
    Sep 3, 2017 at 10:44 am

    If you will not read the criticisms, then there is no point in arguing.

    There are no limits to the quantities of junk assertions which can be made by science deniers, so could just keep posting their garbage ad-infinitum, to the exclusion of discussing the real serious issues, of protecting the health and lives of the people of the world.

    If you can only post cherry-picked links and pasted assertions from quack websites, and from long out-of-date studies, this would indicate that you are not capable of rationally discussing the science and medical issues I have raised and linked @#30, #35, #38, #44, #46, #52, #52, #57, #62, #63, #64 etc. and are simply blindly following the assertive ignorant, who are in denial of the benefits of modern medicine!

    @#55 – Are you claiming to be personally capable of checking peer-review level scientific research? –
    Because if you are not capable, what you are saying,
    is that you choose to believe the superficial perceptions a few unqualified amateurs, mavericks and charlatans,
    rather than a whole string of the world’s independent experts!

    So I think that indirectly answers my question @#55!

  55. For any who want to understand the latest research into the potential risks of Thiomersal this is a wonderful summary of it.

    https://scientistabe.wordpress.com/2016/05/21/neurosciencesbbb-thiomersal-and-the-blood-brain-barrier-where-does-the-science-stand/

    I’ve spent the last couple of days reading anti-vaxxer claims and then gone through most relevant papers and reviews.

    The above is as thoroughgoing and even handed as I’ve seen. The WHO analysis is partial and focused, I feel wrongly, solely on bio-accumulation. The concern is surely for a singular neural insult during the period of critical neuro-genesis and brain pruning in toddlers.

    Anti-vaxxers (as I’ve seen) misrepresent/fail to understand the blood brain barrier and its dynamics.

    Anyway, Thiomesal is pretty much gone, having done a good and mostly blameless job, but that pregnant mother’s tuna sandwich remains….

  56. phil rimmer #70
    Sep 4, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Anyway, Thiomesal is pretty much gone, having done a good and mostly blameless job, but that pregnant mother’s tuna sandwich remains….

    @ your link:- However, the beneficial gains of such food category rich in poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs, such as omega-3 and omega-6) is essential for ensuring the proper fetal brain development. A equilibrated diet with the advice of the reputable dieticians and physician will ensure the optimal use of fish and seafood without having to worry about detrimental effects due to methylmercury.

    Avoiding fish from polluted rivers, lakes, and industrialised coasts and estuaries, is a good start!

  57. Shrievelty #60
    Sep 3, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Safeminds wrote that it was impossible to conclude that thimerosal vaccines are not associated with autism, and the same was true for MMR vaccines.

    What you fail to grasp, is that the asserted contorted mental ramblings and writings, of “Safe Minds” have NOTHING to do with evidence based science, and what they claim to be “conclusions” have nothing to do with logical reasoning starting with evidence from reputable sources!

    They consistently indulge in denialist wish-thinking, and like most pseudo-science promoters, are an epic fail in either science, logic, or both!

  58. phil rimmer #70
    Sep 4, 2017 at 6:54 am

    The link seems to give pretty comprehensive coverage of the topic!

    Not that the average anti-vaxxer would be able to follow it!

    I wonder if Safe Minds is next going to sponsor an investigation into that fiendish di-hydrogen monoxide in vaccinations possibly causing autism! 🙂

  59. Dr. Donald Trump made the following remark about vaccination and autism in a debate during the 2016 Republican primaries:

    “Autism is now an epidemic. Fifty years ago, no comparison. You take that huge needle that looks like its meant for an elephant and a tiny beautiful little baby. Something’s bound to go wrong. I know this woman who works for me, has a two year old child. Beautiful child. The child gets vaccinated and sure enough a week later the kid gets a tremendous fever, gets very sick, and now has autism. I am all for vaccines. But we need to give them in much smaller doses over a longer period of time. And I think you’re going to see a big impact on autism.” (Paraphrasing.)

    He knows more than the generals and the research scientists.

Leave a Reply