Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Opacity isn't science ...

In theory, science (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/science), the process of discovering factual information and verifying that it is true, must be transparent and open.

On August 25, 2014 the CDC released a statement (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/Autism/cdc2004pediatrics.html) addressing the controversy swirling around a whistleblower who has come forward alleging the scientific process was corrupted in research looking at the relationship between autism and vaccination.

They do not directly address the allegation made by one of the authors of the study in question. It seems they are circling the wagons to protect the status quo. Hopefully this initial response will be followed with one that more completely addresses the issues involved. Since one of their employees is making the allegations they may not yet be at liberty to be more forthright - though if that is truly the case why didn't they say so?!

This statement is very interesting:
 "Additional studies and a more recent rigorous review by the Institute of Medicine have      found that MMR vaccine does not increase the risk of autism."
The whistleblower implies the IOM review was compromised by the results of this study that he alleges was gerry-rigged to arrive at pre-determined results. He further alleges that he informed his co-workers and supervisors of his concerns about the methods of analysis that were being used and the conclusions being drawn.

The selective framing of this statement is also worth looking at:
"Vaccines protect the health of children in the United States so well that most parents today have never seen first-hand the devastating consequences of diseases now stopped by vaccines."
Those sounding the alarm regarding risks of vaccination do not deny that becoming ill from any disease can cause sequelae, sometimes devastating. Yet having seen first hand what can happen as a result of vaccination they simply want to be able to make a medical decision for themselves or their minor children without being harrassed or have receipt of service be tied to vaccination status. They want others to be spared the pain and suffering with which they and their loved ones have had to cope.

Use of the word "protect" is also very telling - a more accurate choice of words would be "reduce risk" - even those who promote vaccines acknowledge they do not work 100% of the time, even when so called "herd immunity" is achieved. The concepts of protection and risk reduction are not equivalent, nor are the inter-changable.

Then there is this:
"The data CDC collected for this study continue to be available for analysis by others. CDC welcomes analysis by others that can be submitted for peer-review and publication. For more information on how to access this public-use dataset please go to the this webpage." 
Obtaining the data is not as simple as this statement may make it seem - ask Dr. Brian Hooker. While access to data should not be without boundries, especially when it may contain sensitive information (ie: personally identifiable records) one wonders why it would require years of FOIA requests? This seems like stone-walling. Here is a link to a story with information about his efforts to obtain other information pertaining to the issue of vaccines and any link to neuro-developmental problems: http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/big-pharma-tries-to-discredit-documents-hidden-by-cdc-linking-vaccines-to-austism/ Please note: it took him 10 years and >100 FOIA requests. Our employees (ie: those who serve the people of the United States who happen to work at the CDC) should not be making it so difficult for us to review their work - WE PAY THEM!!

As always -
Those who perceive vaccination to be beneficial should get whatever vaccine they want.
Those who believe vaccination is risky should not be penalized for declining vaccination, nor should they be manipulated into acceptance.

link to original video:

CDC Statement:

Snope doggy-dog ... snooping, not reporting

The rumor-debunking website snopes.com has waded into the controversy surrounding the CDC whistleblower with this post:

The bias in what they have written is palpable.

Snopes derides concerns about the link between vaccines and neurological problems (primarily autism) as a "conspiracy theory" - the only conspiracy is the concerted effort to dismiss these concerns ... concerns the whistleblower's allegations absolutely validate.
The whistleblower's allegations are themselves validation of the conspiracy so many want to deny - all the more so if his statements are proved to be true. His allegations are validating because he was involved - he was part of the "conspiracy" and he is coming forward admitting as much! He is a witness as well as a whistleblower - he should be commended for his honesty and protected while further investigation is done (just not by Snopes!)

They cite the iCNN source - but that is secondary at best, as it is the whistleblower who made the allegation and first disclosed this to Hooker/Wakefield.

They allege Wakefield's original Lancet study regarding GI issues associated with autism first planted the "seed of fear" about the link between vaccines and autism - um, no. It was moms and dads who know and love their children who first correlated loss of skills and other neuro-developmental changes/degenerations with receipt of vaccines. (Silly mommies and daddies, what do they know - they are not scientists!) There was no need for any scientific paper to cause concern about undesired consequences of vaccination - indeed that has been brewing since Jenner first proposed it as a medical intervention. Controversy about vaccination is nothing new, nor is the use of fear and manipulation to force it upon those who do not want it.

The Snopes peice states "anyone can submit content" to iReport on CNN - as if any story not having the blessing of an officially sanctioned outlet isn't valid? Kudos to CNN for having this platform and making it available - others can do their work for them and alert them to developing stories and give them the chance to have first crack at what may well develop into something important - if CNN recognizes it! Does Snopes think crowdsourcing is only valid if it's promoting ALS fundraisers?

This writer doesn't pretend to be unbiased. Neither should Snopes. Ronald Reagan could not have been more correct in saying "trust, but verify"!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Blowing the whistle on the MMR ...

Over the last week the news that a whistleblower from the CDC disclosed the use of post-normal science (ie: a gerry-rigged study that obtains pre-determined results) to create a study providing results that could be used to justify the status quo for vaccination.

The first link below is to a video recording the confession of the whistleblower to Brian Hooker (apparently made by Dr. Andrew Wakefield). Link #5 is to Brian Hooker's re-analysis of the data from the original study (link #6, abstract only);

The video makes some alarming comparison's to the infamous Tuskegee Syphillis experiment as Dr. Hooker's re-analysis shows a significant corelation between MMR vaccination and autism in black male children - especially if they receive the MMR "early" (before 36 months).

The study in question is about the MMR - there may be something unique about it which impacts autism/ASD, but given the complexity of human life, autism/ASD is likely multi-factoral. It may not be just the vaccine antigen which is problematic - many other ingredients in vaccines could be contributing to adverse effects of vaccination (not just autism ... ) - mercury, aluminum, human and animal dna, viruses, among others.

But if the allegations are true, it could lead many to question the legitimacy of many studies proporting to show the safety of other vaccines - indeed there is already reason to question vaccine safety as many studies do not use a true, inert placebo (like saline) in comparison to a vaccine - vaccine A is compared to vaccine B and if the results of side effects are similar vaccine A is declared "safe";

Given the amount of money involved in the whole vaccination paradigm this type of scandal is not surprising. Many people have rea$on to maintain the vaccine $tatu$ quo.

Given the cozy relationship (technically referred to as CONFLICT OF INTEREST) between those responsible for vaccine policy (and by extension those doing studies to support said policy) this is not surprising.

What would be downright SHOCKING is if someone actually did something about it:

  • Made changes to eliminate conflicts of interest (in other words - stopped the revolving door between the companies that make the vaccines and benefit from government policy regarding vaccines and those setting government policy regarding vaccines). If you work for pharmaceutical companies you would be prohibited from working for government agencies directly or indirectly involved in vaccines and vice versa. Not a token 1 year waiting period either. 

  • Another practical suggestion would be to remove the legal liability shield from the companies that make vaccines. 

  • Does the ACIP (Advisory Committe on Immunization Practices) have full access to safety studies? Are they allowed to see this "proprietary" information? Perhaps they could develop a policy that they will not review a vaccine for addition to/inclusion in the vaccine schedule unless they have complete and full disclosure of ALL data from which safety studies draw their conclusions (not just the "results" of said safety studies). This, of course, is only relevant once the ACIP has been purged of those with conflict of interest! 

  • Schools and workplaces could scale back on draconian mandates regarding vaccination status for students and employees. Even if results of studies regarding vaccination are not compromised the case for mandatory vaccination is still weak - simply from a civil and human rights standpoint.

Hopefully more information will come out, more details about they workplace culture in which the whistleblower worked and how that impacted the results of their studies.

The impact of money and politics upon science has a long history - just ask Galileo, Copernicus, Sammelweis, Pasteur (among others). Consensus isn't science, nor is it necessarily a guide to what is true. Far too often and for far too long medicine has made pronouncements about this or that treatment/procedure/medication only to find out after the fact that their initial enthusiasm (ie: recommendations/mandates/guidelines) was not warrented.

Good ideas, good products do not need mandates or manipulation to create demand. It is long past time for vaccines to live or die in a free marketplace of ideas and products. Those who want them should get them. Those who do not should not be penalized.

#5) - reanalysis of original paper
#6) - original paper
#7) - critique of Hooker's re-analysis

Friday, August 01, 2014

Breath of fresh air ...

Leave it to our northern neighbors to come to some common sense conclusions - three Canadian physicians have published an OpEd calling for health care workers to be able to accept or decline flu vaccination rather than imposing a mandate for an intervention with dodgy "evidence" for support (and they extend this to the alternate "choice" of wearing a mask for at least 6 months of the year).

They acknowledge that the over-hyped efficacy and under-stated risks of flu vaccination has eroded the public's trust. The writers of the article chose to get vaccinated because they believe it provides them with some benefit and they encourage others to do so as well - but they don't believe others should be forced to receive the vaccine if they do not want it (regardless of the reason).

I wonder if Canada's ACIP (or its equivalent) has members with conflict of interest issues?
Apparently Canada does not tie payments to healthcare providers/facilities to vaccination status of their employees (another conflict of interest linked to vaccines).

Kudos to Canada - if only the USA would import this kind of common sense.