Changing Media Perception: “Anti-Vaxxers Are [Fill in the Blank]”

March 26, 2016

The ProfessorRecent events have prompted some startlingly contradictory emotions in me. On the one hand, a day I’ve long been dreading appears to have finally arrived, and on the other hand, a day I have been awaiting with eager anticipation may also have arrived – and ironically both are due to the pharmaceutical public relations machine.

The day I’ve been dreading is the day that PR machine finally figured out that whenever they “go negative” with people who question either the safety of one vaccine, all vaccines, or the cumulative effect of the CDC recommended schedule as a whole, they lose by it.

In recent years, we’ve seen myriad mainstream media pieces implying – or stating outright – that “anti-vaxxers” (click here for a working definition of who is included) are any or all of stupid, anti-science, dangerous, selfish, elitist, and crazy baby killers. They have also consistently stated or implied that those of us who refuse one or more vaccines for ourselves or our children make these important health decisions with long-term ramifications based upon a single case series involving 12 children, published in 1998 and later withdrawn, that mentioned one possible negative outcome of one vaccine and/or the testimony of a Playboy bunny. They make these assertions despite the fact that it’s never been true, and we have been telling them so all along.

It turns out, however, that the general public isn’t quite as stupid as pharmaceutical execs and their public relations machine – involving classic PR press releases spoon-fed to credulous journalists, astroturf (meaning faked “grass roots”) websites, self-professed “science” bloggers, and an army of gleeful, self-professed “trolls” – would like to believe. (If you want some eye-opening insight into the sort of “tricks” employed by these “trolls,” click here.)

Many people who stand on the sidelines of the vaccine debate know someone who has questioned the wisdom of giving all newborns (who are not capable of producing mature antibodies in the first place) a vaccine for a disease transmitted primarily through sexual activity and dirty needles (hepatitis B) that fewer than 1 in 50,000 young children per year would have been exposed to even before the vaccine was recommended for that age range.  Or they know someone who questions the wisdom of injecting a mercury-laden flu vaccine into an infant, when the Cochrane Collaboration has made it clear that there is no evidence that flu shots are effective at all in children under two. Or someone who wonders whether letting their teenager assume the risk of developing overwhelming autoimmune illness in order to cut the risk of death by cervical cancer (30-40 years away on average) by 0.5% is a tradeoff worth making.

Or like so many of us, they know someone whose child was hitting all their milestones on time and got a round of vaccines at 18 months or two years of age that sent them to the emergency room – emitting an eerie high-pitched scream that would break the heart of a stone-cold serial killer and arching their back in an unnatural way – leading to the sudden or gradual loss of all the child’s previously acquired skills and ending with a diagnosis of “autism” – along with a host of co-occurring conditions which might include serious gastrointestinal disease, seizure disorders, apraxia, sensory processing disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, life-threatening allergies, and/or autoimmune conditions.

So many people know someone in one or more of these categories – all of which are called “anti-vaccine” by the pharmaceutical PR machine and painted with the same brush – that recent statistics show that 40% of U.S. parents of young children have delayed or denied at least one vaccine on the CDC recommended schedule. And nearly one-third of parents of young children believe that vaccines cause autism. These parents know that their friends and family members are not stupid, nor do they deny the value of honest science (in fact, many can give you a host of links to studies and articles that should shake anyone’s faith in the blanket assurances of safety spouted by the CDC), and they are certainly not killers. Many of the parents in the last category – those with children injured by vaccines – are in fact so compassionate and unselfish that they repeatedly tell their stories on public forums, despite the inevitable character assassination they know will follow, in the hopes that by sharing what they have learned they can spare at least one child, one family, from going through the same hell that they themselves have been through.

risk-choice

The PR strategy has traditionally been to shut down any conversation on vaccines by viciously mocking anyone who dared bring up serious issues with the safety of one or more vaccines or the way we are currently administering them. That strategy has been employed successfully to shut down many a conversation on social media, leading the people behind the strategy to believe it was the right way to go. It has also been successful in heating up the rhetoric, pitting particularly fearful parents against vaccine choice advocates, and monopolizing the mainstream media message. But this is the age of the Internet, and more and more people are becoming aware of how much the mainstream media message is shaped, if not co-opted entirely, by the industries providing their budgets in the form of advertising dollars. More and more people are becoming disillusioned by the quality of the information coming from mainstream media outlets and are looking elsewhere to find what is not being shown on television. Having watched these conversations for approximately 15 years now, I’ve noticed the rhetoric heating up, but I’ve also noticed that every single time someone is vicious to an earnest, well-meaning parent on a public forum – especially when the parent keeps their cool and stays completely reasonable, admittedly a difficult task under the circumstances – another parent begins to question.

We at TMR have known for a long time now that the more vicious the attacks, the more ground we gain by merely participating in the conversation. That’s why we advise people to ignore the attacks to the best of their ability and just place as many nuggets of unassailable information as they can for the approximately 40% of parents who may be still “on the fence” about vaccines and may be seeing the information for the first time. The pharmaceutical companies have a lot of money to pay their expensive PR teams, but it’s clear, despite the David-and-Goliath nature of the battle, that we are winning. Recently, PR firms have confirmed what we have known for a long time. Despite sharply increasing vitriol, the ranks of people with the audacity to question what is injected into their infants are growing. In fact, the vitriol itself helps to swell our ranks. In the words of “risk communication expert” David Ropiek, “There are millions of people who are ambivalent to some degree. When they hear the people being picked on defend their views, that has the real prospect of turning some of those people against vaccines.”

I find Ropiek’s statement fascinating. I have no doubt whatsoever that he is correct about each conversation’s potential to “turn some of those people against vaccines” because I have watched it happen – repeatedly. But I would characterize it differently. He claims that the vitriol makes us “defensive” and it is our defensiveness that is so persuasive in turning people. On this score, I think he is wrong. Dead wrong. Think about how you feel when someone gets defensive. Do you find their arguments convincing? Are you generally thinking, Wow, she must be right? Not me. I’m usually thinking, Poor sap, so blinded by the need to be right that he can’t see straight! So what is it about this topic that makes people “defending their views” so persuasive? I submit that the reason we gain ground when we are viciously attacked is because much of the time we don’t get defensive. We simply provide the information we wish we had known when making important health decisions for our families. In other words, each attack provides another opportunity for us to exhibit tremendous “grace under pressure” and provide solid information for those who might otherwise never see it. And we are using those opportunities to greater and greater advantage.

We enjoyed an extended period of time where the pharmaceutical companies and their PR hacks just didn’t understand this. It probably peaked early last year with the ridiculous over-hyping of a measles outbreak at Disneyland that eventually led to 159 cases of measles, the majority of which were in adults who had been previously vaccinated for measles. Despite the deliberate hysteria and manufactured outrage spoon-fed to the media, the “anti-vaccination” conversation shifted quickly from defensiveness and “coalesced around personal liberty or the right of parents to choose what is put into their children,” and we gained ground again. Then the pharmaceutical companies’ long-term strategy was revealed as bill after bill was introduced in state legislatures all over the country shortly thereafter, using the supposed measles public health crisis as justification to repeal any personal belief exemptions to the practice of vaccination. Despite the “risk communication expert’s” knowing that attacking parents for not vaccinating doesn’t help his case, Ropiek couldn’t help but give away the true agenda behind the bullying tactics when he said, “The fact that these parents are being so vilified will make it easier for states and cities to make it harder to opt out.”

californians

What has been the result of this unprecedented wave of punitive legislation? It hasn’t been any more successful overall than previous hardball campaigns. The most important outcome has been to force opposition groups in virtually every state to mobilize and organize to a level that many didn’t think possible. While vaccine choice activists were ultimately defeated in California, their opposition efforts were on a scale that has been unprecedented in California politics. In the words of California Assemblywoman, Shannon Grove, “When was the last time you saw so many different people [approximately 750 people, many with their children] from so many walks of life across political persuasions that came to this Capitol to protest? We have awoken a sleeping giant.” In the end, SB277’s passage could only be brought about by some very shady procedural anomalies.

Personal or religious belief exemption removal initiatives were defeated in the states of Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine, North Carolina, and Texas, among others. Illinois passed a greatly watered-down version of the originally proposed law, requiring religious exemptions to be signed by medical doctors – a ridiculous measure that was defeated in several other states. Obviously, your doctor has nothing to do with your religious beliefs, but the exemption seeker has to prove that they allowed someone in a medical field to lecture them about the dangers of so-called vaccine-preventable diseases. Other legislation, like the proposed repeal of the religious exemption in New York, is stalled. New York’s bill has no co-sponsors and is unlikely to pass, given that the Senate is controlled by Democrats and the House by Republicans. It tends to be hard to get bipartisan support for unconstitutional measures restricting religious freedom.


Excuse me while I wander off course a moment. I think it’s important to note that the only legislatures that have passed vaccine-exemption-removal measures largely intact are California and Vermont, the legislatures of which are largely controlled by Democrats. As someone who has voted almost exclusively Democrat for my entire adult life, I find that fact more than a little disturbing. And I am by no means alone. According to the Democratic party line, it’s supposed to be the Republicans who are beholden to corporate interests, isn’t it? Why then is state Senator Pan of California, a Democrat, taking orders from a pharmaceutical company lobbyist? The truth is that there are few politicians of any stripe who can be elected without powerful industrial ties. This is why I have been banging the drum of campaign finance reform for at least the last 10 years. If we had risen up then and insisted, as a people, that we fundamentally alter the way political campaigns are financed – removing big-money corporate donors from the equation – we would not be in this position today. Instead, we got the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, making it all much, much worse. Campaign finance reform is the number one most important issue we can lobby for, whether we vote Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Green Party, if we wish to have public servants – that’s what politicians are supposed to be – who truly represent the people of the United States. And, guess what? Nobody’s going to volunteer to dismantle the current system of campaign finance. Nothing will happen, if we don’t make it happen. *steps back down off soapbox*


Measles case countSo, despite the biggest and nerviest attempted land grab since Britain took over India in the mid-nineteenth century, the folks who want to make sure you have as many vaccines pumped into you as humanly possible, no matter what effect they have on your overall health, are no further along than they were last year. They might even, perhaps, be said to have lost considerable ground, given that their opposition is far more organized and mobilized than it has ever been before, and the measles “public health crisis” – supposedly due to vaccine deniers, despite the fact that a majority of cases were in previously vaccinated adults – has completely and utterly fizzled out. In fact, as of March 16, ten weeks into 2016, there were a total of THREE reported cases of measles when the five-year weekly average is four cases, meaning we’re running at approximately 37 cases below the average cumulative total of measles cases at this time of year.

So, not only were “anti-vaxxers” not to blame for last year’s somewhat ordinary measles statistics, but this year they’re not even able to drum up the usual number of cases – which, by the way, is probably an artificially low estimate for this time of year given that it is averaged across the year. According to the CDC, “measles disease occurs primarily in late winter and spring.” Those three cases account for approximately half of the period when most measles cases are seen. In other words, it looks like this year we may be so far below the usual number of cases that 2016 could very well produce a record low number of measles cases to date. Of course, that shouldn’t be too surprising, since it’s known that measles cases run on a 5-7 year cycle in highly vaccinated populations. Oh, you didn’t know that? Isn’t that interesting? The PR machine certainly did.

It took a while, but the PR machine has finally taken note of the phenomenon I’ve been discussing. Beginning February of 2015 but not really gathering momentum till mid-year, “anti-vaxxer” media articles have been appearing with a decidedly toned-down, if still extremely condescending, attitude – deliberately soft-peddling the previously harsh criticism leveled at those who choose not to vaccinate: February 2015, Maggie Fox at NBC News admonished, “Don’t Call Them Dumb: Experts on Fighting the Anti-Vaccine Movement”; LA Weekly asked in July, “Is There a Kinder, Gentler Way to Get Anti-Vaxxers to See the Light?” (see what I mean about the condescension?); The Atlantic declared in February of this year that “Anti-Vaxxers Aren’t Stupid,” in sharp contrast to their long history of “anti-vax” shaming; and The Immunization Partnership, also in February, in their “How to Respond to Inaccurate Posts About Vaccines on Social Media” advised finding common ground, being respectful, and relying on storytelling. Some people, of course, have yet to get the memo with regard to this shift in strategy. There is still plenty of vitriol to be found.

Lorrin Kain and her mother Karen

Lorrin Kain and her mother Karen

Speaking of storytelling, this isn’t the first time that the vaccine PR machine tried to bring about a course correction of sorts. It was about 2013 when they first realized they were losing the PR battle. At that point, they decided that our success in influencing attitudes and behavior was “success built on better storytelling” as the website Voices for Vaccines puts it. Personally, it chills my blood to see parents pouring their hearts out week after week in the hopes of sparing others their heartache dismissed as “good storytellers.” And I find it even more repellant that what happened to children like Lorrin Kain amounts to nothing but a “good story” to these people. Voices for Vaccines, a supposedly parent-led non-profit with extremely strong vaccine industry ties, makes no bones about being set up specifically to counter our oh-so-fabulous storytelling skills, because they know “as parents” that often the most influential information is “the story shared between parents.” You may have noticed that blogs purporting to be from “anti-vaxxers” who changed their minds began appearing in 2014. These blogs may have convinced some people with little familiarity with the issues, but those of us deep inside the so-called “anti-vaccination movement” (a term they made up, by the way) are more than a little amused at the obvious and clumsy attempts at “better storytelling.”

But keep an eye out for an increase in “storytelling” coming from the PR machine. A recent ad emailed out by Megan Media, which “specializes in creating and implementing custom content and influencer marketing campaigns across mobile, tablet and desktop” seeks  mothers with children two and under “who want to raise awareness around childhood vaccination” for a paid blogging campaign by “passionate influencers” beginning April 11th. Is it coincidence that April happens to be “autism awareness month”? Hardly. Somehow I don’t think they’d be interested in paying me to “raise awareness around childhood vaccination.” Megan Media is a PR company. It’s not clear whether they are ultimately being paid by the U.S. government or by the pharmaceutical companies themselves. I’m not sure there is a whole lot of difference, but it’s at least slightly less galling if my tax dollars are not going toward this crap. In any event, it is a sure bet that none of the “mommy blogs” produced in this astroturf campaign will be containing conflict-of-interest disclosures.

megan media

My intent in writing this blog was just to show that what you see in the media is carefully crafted PR bullshit. The bullshit may change, but it is still bullshit designed to get people to shut down their critical thinking skills. Resist the bullshit in all its forms. Don’t let corporate-sponsored media shape your views. Talk to people who have questions about vaccines. Find out what their concerns are. They are legitimate, and they are myriad. And they will never be found in a mainstream media piece as long as pharmaceutical companies are paying the bills.

tff

So much for the day I dreaded. What about the day I’ve been eagerly anticipating? While I was preparing this blog, The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) in New York City, an important festival on the independent film circuit – not quite on the level of Cannes or Sundance yet, but rising in prominence – announced that it would be hosting a film entitled Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe. Vaxxed is a documentary about the information revealed by CDC epidemiologist William Thompson with respect to a study he was involved with was published in 2004. (To watch the trailer for the film, click here.) Thompson told Brian Hooker, PhD, exactly where to look to find data that directly correlated the MMR vaccine with higher autism rates, particularly with regard to “isolated autism” (a term they made up term that encompasses what is more commonly known as “regressive autism”) and African-American boys. The AA boys in the study who had had the MMR “on time” had autism at 3.4 times the rate of the AA boys who had the shot after the age of five. Thompson and his co-authors deviated from their initial study design, pulled the incriminating data, and literally (and by “literally” I do not mean “figuratively”) threw it away. Thompson, aware that this was at least unethical and probably illegal, retained copies of the data and information that he recently passed on to Representative William Posey of Florida. This study has been repeatedly and cynically pointed to in the media as “proof” that “vaccines don’t cause autism.” It has also been used as justification for abandoning any investigation into the vaccine/autism link, when it should have been impetus for far more study on the subject.

vaxxed

The PR machine has so far successfully shut down serious mainstream inquiry into the facts of this betrayal of public trust by the CDC, but we knew it couldn’t continue to do so for long. In today’s era of instant communication, it is getting harder and harder to continue to suppress long-term injustices. The TFF’s announcement took the vaccine PR machine by surprise and they went swiftly and hysterically into action, trying to get the festival to back out. In light of Robert DeNiro’s eminently reasonable explanation for why he wants the film to be viewed at the festival – as the father of a child with autism he feels it is a conversation worth having – it seems that the day when the public at large will become aware of just how little clothing the emperor is wearing may finally be at hand.

And the very best part is that it will be the vaccine PR machine itself that makes it happen! This film is getting massive amounts of media attention, in large part due to the PR machine’s obviously over-the-top attempts at censorship. There is no way that the filmmakers could have afforded the kind of budget required for that kind of PR buzz themselves.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what happens next.

~ Professor

Update: The Tribeca Film Festival has pulled the film from its lineup as of Saturday, March 26. Robert De Niro, one of the festival’s co-founders, initially issued this statement:

Grace and I have a child with autism and we believe it is critical that all of the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined. In the 15 years since the Tribeca Film Festival was founded, I have never asked for a film to be screened or gotten involved in the programming. However this is very personal to me and my family and I want there to be a discussion, which is why we will be screening “Vaxxed.” I am not personally endorsing the film, nor am I anti-vaccination; I am only providing the opportunity for a conversation around the issue.two different statements to the press, one supporting the film, then another rescinding support for the film.

Amid a tremendous media firestorm, De Niro issued a follow-on statement reversing that position:

My intent in screening this film was to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue that is deeply personal to me and my family, but after reviewing it over the past few days with the Tribeca Film Festival team and others from the scientific community, we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for.

The Festival doesn’t seek to avoid or shy away from controversy. However, we have concerns with certain things in this film that we feel prevent us from presenting it in the Festival program. We have decided to remove it from our schedule.

Notice that switch from “I” in the first statement and the first part of the second statement paragraph to “we” in the second? What does that suggest to you? Personally, I don’t think it’s an accident. To me, it suggests that the first statement is how De Niro actually feels, and the second was how De Niro was told to feel by the Festival’s sponsors. As a father of an African-American boy with autism, I can imagine that this subject is deeply personal for Mr. De Niro, and I for one applaud him and thank him for sticking his neck out. He wasn’t born yesterday. He knew what he was in for.

That suspicion was further heightened by a statement from the film’s director, Andrew Wakefield and producer Del Bigtree:

To our dismay, we learned today about the Tribeca Film Festival’s decision to reverse the official selection of Vaxxed: From Cover-Up To Catastrophe.Robert De Niro’s original defense of the film happened Friday after a one-hour conversation between De Niro and Bill Posey, the congressman who has interacted directly and at length with the CDC Whistleblower (William Thompson) and whose team has scrutinized the documents that prove fraud at the CDC.

It is our understanding that persons from an organization affiliated with the festival have made unspecified allegations against the film,” the statement continued, “claims that we were given no opportunity to challenge or redress. We were denied due process. We have just witnessed yet another example of the power of corporate interests censoring free speech, art, and truth. Tribeca’s action will not succeed in denying the world access to the truth behind the film Vaxxed.

Bigtree was later interviewed for ABC News. Unsurprisingly, very little of that interview made it past the cutting room floor, but I’m posting it here in its entirety so that you can see exactly what the fuss is about.

“I looked at the data that the CDC whistleblower’s providing to Andy and Brian, and it is the most compelling evidence of fraud I’ve ever seen in my life. And I realized in that moment that I was looking at probably the biggest story of my lifetime, and as a journalist, I realized it was a story I had to tell.” — Del Bigtree

I’ve been wondering where the great investigative reporters, in the style of Watergate’s Woodward and Bernstein or the Boston Globe’s Spotlight crew that broke the child sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic church, have been on this story. People like Sharyl Attkisson and Ben Swann have been trying, but so far they have been unable to get any traction. It’s extremely heartening to hear Del Bigtree take his profession to task:

It used to be that when something like this happened in the media that we would all jump on it. When a CDC whistleblower, a top scientist from the CDC, comes forward and says ‘Hey, we’re committing fraud in here,’ I would have expected every news agency in the world to jump in there and investigate that story. I’m amazed that this film is the only ones that are looking at it. So I want the truth.

If you have not yet signed the petition asking the Tribeca Film Festival to restore this important film to their line-up, please do so. It’s high time we exposed this “most compelling evidence of fraud” at the agency whose mandate is to protect the health of our children — a mandate that they are failing utterly.

For more by Professor, click here.

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97 Responses to Changing Media Perception: “Anti-Vaxxers Are [Fill in the Blank]”

  1. joe says:

    professorTMR here is some information regarding quack Humphries—-The fact that she is a medical doctor does not mean that she know how science or evidence works, however, and – as expected – her evidence is purely anecdotal; in fact, her reasoning is entirely based on “feeling” the vaccines’s role in kidney disease, which just goes to display in full her complete lack of training in, expertise or understanding of any relevant field of immunology. You see, not only are vaccines unnatural, they are “disease matter”, which, I suppose, is a compelling point for anyone who swears by the laws of medieval alchemy. PLEEEZ.

    Humphreys has also asserted her adoption of homeopathy, after extensive studies. She does not even try to link homeopathy to reality, instead adopting fullblown vitalism, claiming that homeopathy works by fixing energy flows in the body. In fact, she claims that homeopathy is a “more advanced system” than evidence-based modern medicine, and that the latter tends to exacerbate the forces that drive chronic illness. Therefore, according to Humphries, people should limit their medical care only to homeopaths, chiropractors, and osteopaths. And of course, modern doctors are deliberately suppressing effective alternative cures because they are all in on a conspiracy funded by Big Pharma. (Yes, that post was published on the pile of quackery website Medical Voices.)

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Oh, there it is! I knew the word “quack” would be coming along any minute . . . 🙂 🙂 🙂

      “The fact that she is a medical doctor does not mean that she know how science or evidence works.” I HEARTILY CONCUR! I have talked to MANY medical doctors who seem utterly clueless on the subject, which always surprises me because I know they have to take in-depth biology courses and at least up to organic chemistry. But I suppose it shouldn’t since I saw many pre-meds struggling in organic chemistry. No, Suzanne Humprhies’s medical school training does not in any way mean that she understands science. But, unlike many of her colleagues, she does in fact understand science.

      Stop reading propaganda websites and listen to one of her lectures. Does she get ALL the details right? Not in my opinion. But then no one does. None of us are omniscient, which is why we need to keep open and listen to those who have studied other aspects of the topic under discussion.

      You obviously don’t understand what “evidence-based medicine” means. It means making medical choices based upon evidence. Suzanne Humphries like so many others who truly have scientifically oriented inquisitive minds actually studied the subject and what she found was that it WORKS. Homeopathy can often easily reverse even long-standing health issues. In acute situations, the results are often spectacular, much more spectacular than pharmaceutical-based medicine. Have you ever heard what Peter Gotzche, co-founder of The Cochrane Collaboration (considered the gold standard in unbiased international medical research) has to say on the subject of SSRI anti-depressants? He says they are doing more harm than good. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(14)70280-9/abstract Do you have any idea how many prescriptions for SSRIs are dispensed annually? “Evidence-based modern medicine”? Hardly. Profit-based is more like it.

      And I have no idea what Medical Voices is or what you are quoting. The only “Medical Voices” website I can find is one for a woman who does medical voiceovers. In future, please link your source.

      • Jonathan Graham says:

        I’ll just point out that EBM isn’t simply making medical choices based on evidence. People did that well before Sackett. Vodun practitioners use evidence to make their decisions as do faith healers. EBM is, among other things about a specific evidence model based on statistical power. This is right out of Dave’s EBM handbook. The problem with Humphries is that her evidence is exceptionally low-quality based on this evidence model. Even if Humphries went out and performed a study with impeccable standards on Homeopathy and the result was positive the evidence itself isn’t necessarily very valuable.

        I’ll also point out that Attkisson’s talk is interesting because it offers advice which is kind of useless. Take for example the idea that you are looking for terms like “quack”. Has Sharyl done a study looking at the term quack to determine if the site is astroturf? Her scenario where the person “really does their homework” while it might be representative of how people think (or it might be entirely wrong – Sharyl doesn’t present any evidence either way) it’s painting an incorrect picture of the evidence. That blog posts, social media and studies all have the same weight (Again that idea that evidence needs to be weighed. ). The better advice is for the person to simply ignore what it says on social media, read the study and then get help interpreting it.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        There are two problems with making medical choices simply by ranking of “evidence type”: 1) That doesn’t take into account the quality of the research SOURCE, the source’s conflicts of interest, and the likelihood of bias introduced into the research. For instance, we know due to a number of Freedom of Information Act Requests and a whistleblower that certain scientists at the CDC have deliberately manipulated and omitted data that contradicted their hypotheses. In addition, we know from the Cochrane Collaboration that industry-sponsored research is generally likely to way overstate safety and efficacy claims. No amount of peer review seems to be changing that. And 2) It doesn’t take into account the individual variation that determines how a particular person will respond to a particular medical treatment. To insist on double-blind placebo-controlled trials as the “best” way to determine whether a particular treatment is the RIGHT treatment for a particular person is to miss the trees for the forest.

        For a particular person, the “evidence” they will be most interested in is the evidence that comes from their own experience. I just read a book that described an exchange with Charles Popper, a psychiatrist who teaches other psychiatrists at Harvard Medical School. He described giving a child a particular supplement. Within days the child’s symptoms disappeared. The symptoms reappeared shortly after the supplement ran out. Then he cobbled together a “poor man’s” version of the supplement which alleviated about 60% of symptoms, which was confirmed independently by the child’s parents and teachers. All the symptoms disappeared again a few short days after resuming the original supplement. Now in the “hierachy” of evidence this ranks very low as “anecdote.” But Popper points out that in reality this is high quality evidence that this supplement has caused the reversal of symptoms in this child. The results tracked the exposure perfectly. He repeated this with other patients and found that approximately 80% of them experienced similar improvements. Doctor Popper’s experiments were not double-blind placebo-controlled trials, but they were such good evidence of what was happening that, even though he is strongly biased toward scientific studies published in peer-reviewed journals, when asked under oath what HE would do if he found himself with the same condition, he said he would take the supplement.

        All this is just to say that just because YOU (and the EBM hierarchy) would regard Suzanne Humphries’s evidence as “exceptionally low quality” doesn’t mean it really is. When a scientifically oriented person wants to know whether something is working, it is easy enough to design tests — like Popper’s — that are convincing whether or not it officially counts as “high-quality scientific data.” And those tests may not be valuable to YOU, but they may be exceptionally valuable to the person deciding what treatment to pursue. Another scientifically oriented person, Amy Lansky, conducted similar tests to Popper’s when her son was receiving homeopathic treatment. She found that her husband and her son’s teachers could tell when she had changed the potency even though she hadn’t told them (or her son) that she was doing so. Again, you and the “evidence-based medicine” enthusiasts may regard that as “exceptionally low-quality” evidence, but to Ms. Lansky it was much more useful than any huge population double-blind placebo-controlled study could be.

        You’re assuming that it’s impossible to discern good quality from poor quality information in social media — or that it is automatically inferior to a scientific study — and that is ridiculous. When you have spent any time on social media and you have done a significant amount of fact-checking, you can easily get a sense of who is telling the truth and who isn’t. In addition, if you take a suggestion from someone and find that it works, you also get a sense of who has higher-quality information. Many people using such critical thinking have found information on social media platforms that has helped them do what mainstream medicine has deemed impossible — like get well. For those people that evidence is the highest quality of all.

      • Jonathan Graham says:

        There are two problems with making medical choices simply by ranking of “evidence type”

        It’s not evidence type. It’s statistical power. Also nobody has argued that EBM is without problems only that your description was somewhere between wrong and incomplete and misleading.

        That doesn’t take into account the quality of the research SOURCE, the source’s conflicts of interest, and the likelihood of bias introduced into the research.

        Assuming you had usefully generalizable data on bias you could correct for it however you likely do not.

        It doesn’t take into account the individual variation that determines how a particular person will respond to a particular medical treatment.

        If you can specify the variable it, of course can. We already do this for a number of therapies. However if you are going to just appeal to some imagined potential variable. Then that’s not really an argument against EBM because by definition there’s simply no high-quality evidence to support one persons pet imaginary variable.

        To insist on double-blind placebo-controlled trials as the “best” way to determine whether a particular treatment is the RIGHT treatment for a particular person

        Top tier evidence in EBM isn’t double-blind placebo-controlled trials by-the-by. I’m not sure what “the right treatment” is but if we use more precise language and talk about the treatment that is most likely to have a particular outcome. Then you are incorrect, by definition.

        Again I’ll point out that nobody is arguing EBM is perfect.

        For a particular person, the “evidence” they will be most interested in is the evidence that comes from their own experience.

        …and faith healers are most interested in evidence that involves devine intervention.

        Now in the “hierachy” of evidence this ranks very low as “anecdote.”

        Not exactly true. It is interesting how above you appealed to some hidden variables within a person but immediately assume in some second hand retelling of a case involving a bunch of poorly measured metrics that there are absolutely no variables there? That sounds like you are only seeing what you want to see

        But Popper points out that in reality this is high quality evidence

        He would be wrong because when it came time to do double-blind placebo controlled trials. The evidence wasn’t nearly so strong. Even if he was right, the point of science is that it will – from time to time – provide the wrong answers. The idea that some good therapy will be ignored because of poor evidence is expected and reasonable since there are always thereapies around with better evidence.

        YOU (and the EBM hierarchy) would regard Suzanne Humphries’s evidence as “exceptionally low quality” doesn’t mean it really is.

        It’s not me and yes her pretension to science is exceptionally poor evidence. As your example with Charles Popper demonstrated. People are very adept at fooling themselves when given the opportunity.

        You’re assuming that it’s impossible to discern good quality from poor quality information in social media

        No, I’m saying that Sheryl’s criteria for differentiating good social media are unsupported and very likely wrong. Based on her example dropping everything but the study and learning it’s strengths and weaknesses would have been superior to learning some words.

        Many people using such critical thinking

        “getting a sense of” isn’t critical thinking in any useful sense of the word.

        take a suggestion from someone and find that it works

        Which isn’t very good advice since it glosses over the hard part. What it means for something to “work”

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Jonathan, it is clear from your MANY comments that you have a very concrete way of thinking that gets in the way of your seeing the whole picture. You’re completely missing the point. You say that “no one says EBM is without problems,” and that’s just not true. There are many, many people who think that it is the ONLY way to make “effective” healthcare decisions. Virtually no one who has found their way back from chronic illness to good health would agree.

        I’m not saying one should take anecdote and automatically extrapolate to the individual. I’m saying that when a critical mind hears ALL the evidence (not just the ones with “statistical power” — whether that “power” was obtained legitimately or not), that better decisions for an individual can be made. For individuals, there are many other considerations besides statistical power, like how well your health history or your child’s health history matches that of people who are known to get a certain outcome, or how invasive a particular procedure is, or how many side effects a particular treatment has, or what, specifically, those side effects are. A nurse tried to tell me that there were no side effects to Singulair and I should put my daughter on it for life. I promptly went home and looked up the side effects. Side effects included increased anxiety and difficulty sleeping. My daughter already had anxiety that was through the roof and difficulty sleeping. It would have been insane to put her on that drug.

        Charles Popper wasn’t fooling himself. You assume that “better therapies” are what are validated in EBM. Except that the large studies are done on MORE PROFITABLE THERAPIES, not BETTER therapies. In the case of the supplement Popper was talking about, many people who took it got and felt WELL. Prior to that supplement, many were on four or more strong medications just to function or sometimes not to function but just to keep them from committing suicide. Ask a person who is suicidal what is “better,” being zoned out on four medications a day or being able to live your life the way that “normals” do?

        Again, you’re missing the point. The point is “What will make me (or my child) well?” Those answers are often nowhere to be found in studies with “high statistical power,” which doesn’t mean that the answers don’t exist, just that you’ll have to look elsewhere for them.

      • Jonathan Graham says:

        Jonathan, it is clear from your MANY comments that you have a very concrete way of thinking that gets in the way of your seeing the whole picture.

        I simply rank evidence based on it’s power to predict an outcome. Since, as you say we are interested in making people well and wellness is an outcome. I am just in favor putting people on the path most likely to do that.

        You’re completely missing the point. You say that “no one says EBM is without problems,” and that’s just not true.

        That’s not what was said. What I said is that “Nobody is arguing that EBM is perfect”. Entirely different thing and yes, nobody here is saying that.

        I’m saying that when a critical mind hears ALL the evidence (not just the ones with “statistical power”)

        Please detail a technique which can give a known increase in likelihood of a particular outcome. Which has no known statistical power at all.

        Charles Popper wasn’t fooling himself.

        The highest quality evidence say he was. Sorry.

        You assume that “better therapies” are what are validated in EBM.

        Again that’s not something I said. If I had said it I probably would have at least answered the question “Better than what?” Perhaps you are thinking of where I said that “there are always thereapies around with better evidence”.

        Again, you’re missing the point. The point is “What will make me (or my child) well?”

        How is that any different than saying: What treatment has the highest liklihood of making someone well? That’s the only question I’m asking here.

        As Popper illustrated and Feynman said: The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Again, you’re missing the fact that AN INDIVIDUAL will need to do much more than find the “highest quality” studies to truly determine the best path to wellness.

        No one is “saying” and no one is “arguing” are not entirely different things. There may be a few situations where they don’t overlap, but for this case those situations would be few and far between. There are plenty of people “arguing” that EBM is, in essence, the perfect way to choose healthcare — at least for others.

        Give me your “highest quality” evidence that Popper was deluding himself. And you are aware that even IF the “highest quality evidence” leaves a particular impression NOW that doesn’t mean the impression is true, right? The “highest quality evidence” (which turned out to be crappy quality) said that high-fat diets were implicated in high levels of heart disease, and that turned out to be completely untrue. Given what we KNOW (not guess or surmise or assume) to be true about what science gets funded, we can rest pretty well assured that the “highest quality evidence” available is not even close to the “highest quality evidence” attainable.

        The difference in the two questions posed is that your “someone” is a generic “someone,” and people are not generic someones. They don’t respond to a medication or treatment because 55% of people (with a wide variety of traits) responded to it moderately well with some side effects. For an individual to determine the best course of action, there are so many other “lower quality” (in your eyes, but often far more important to the individual in question) pieces of evidence to consider. And whether or not you agree or understand, those considerations frequently make the difference between healing and not.

  2. joe says:

    professorTMR majored in Physics. yes and i majored in Philosophy, all that means is that neither you or I qualify this discussion which relates to Immunology, and no i did NOT say 55million died the excerpt from the paper i coped state 500 THOUSAND DIED,looks like you have a reading problem.I believe Suzanne Humphries is a Homeopath,hardly the qualifications to talk about immunology.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I know you didn’t say 55 million. I said that because 55 million DO die a year NOW. You asked if I wanted to go back to the days when 500,000 a year died (not specifying of what), I was merely pointing out that 100 times that die every year NOW. I guess if anyone has a “reading problem” it’s you.

      Suzanne Humphries is not a homeopath. She is a nephrologist who made it her business to study immunology. But, hey, if you want to hear from an immunologist on the subject, we’ve got them for you too: http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/an-open-letter-to-legislators-currently-considering-vaccine-legislation-from-tetyana-obukhanych-phd-in-immunology/

      And speak for yourself. As a philosophy major you may feel unqualified to discuss the subject (while doing so anyway), but as a Physics major (generally considered the hardest science) who later was also an engineer, I am perfectly qualified to read scientific papers and understand them. I have done a great deal of research on this topic, far more than the average physician will do in a lifetime. In addition, I have exceptionally good logic skills which means that I know when a conclusion has been properly supported and when it hasn’t. So I am perfectly comfortable discussing the science of the subject,thank you very much.

  3. joe says:

    professor TMR could you back this statement with proper papers? –more than 50% of children in the most highly vaccinated country in the world are chronically ill?

  4. joe says:

    professor TMR here is some information about your Suzanne Humphries–To start, Dr Humphries belabors the fact that measles deaths declined prior the introduction of the measles vaccine and implies that the vaccine was therefore unnecessary. While measles case-fatality rates were indeed falling in high income countries like the US and UK from the 1900s until the 1960s due to improvements in living conditions and medical care, the disease incidence remained virtually unchanged until the introduction of the vaccine. In fact, almost everyone caught measles before the age of 15 at the time. The vaccine brought about a more than 90% reduction in disease incidence in a matter of a few years—- VACCINATION REDUCED THE DISEASE BY 90%, please do not refer to Dr Humphries ,she has been discredited.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Sorry, Joe. Nothing you’ve said in any way “discredits” Dr. Humphries. She never denies that the absolute number of measles cases has dropped, just as I don’t deny it. We went from 3-4,000,000 cases a year to a few hundred. That is fact. The measles vaccine is in all likelihood largely responsible for that. However, Dr. Humphries is correct: measles deaths DID decline dramatically BEFORE the advent of the measles vaccine, and there was absolutely no reason to believe that, like diseases for which there is no vaccine, the death rate would not have continued to drop as it had been even without a vaccine. Dr. Humphries’ rationale for questioning the “necessity” of a measles vaccine is that the annual number of fatalities due to measles cases would be very low even with a very high incidence of measles, just as the annual number of fatalities due to colds is very even with a very high incidence of colds. You are clearly not aware of this, but it is now believed that the immune system challenge issued by a viral illness such as measles seems to act as a tune-up for many and may even be protective when it comes to certain types of cancer. It is quite possible that for a majority of the population we have exchanged a short-term fever and rash (usually about a week) with long-term serious health concerns by insisting that everyone be vaccinated with the measles vaccine. There are many who are now questioning the wisdom of that exchange.

      • joe says:

        Suzanne Humphries has been discredited by her peers ,not me.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        🙂 🙂 🙂 Oh! You mean she’s one of those “quacks” that study the science and turn out to be 30 years ahead of the mainstream physicians that vilify them? (Quick example: last year’s cover of TIME Magazine saying “Eat Butter” because dietary cholesterol isn’t bad for you, doesn’t even raise your serum cholesterol. Holistic, functional, naturopathic doctors, you know, “quacks” have known that for more than 30 years. Other examples too numerous to mention.) Yeah, I’m not so concerned about what mainstream doctors (who virtually never get to the bottom of chronic illness and get people healing) have to say about doctors who DO help people recover from chronic illness. And anyone who does isn’t really interested in health.

      • Neil says:

        “Vaccines didn’t save us” (a.k.a. “vaccines don’t work”):
        [Editor’s note: Inflammatory quotation from a science blogger who has shown little regard for truth or human beings has been redacted.]

        One example of such a myth is the claim that “vaccines didn’t save us,” also sometimes going under the claim that “vaccines don’t work.” The anti-vaccine website Vaccine Liberation has a large set of graphs purporting to show that the death rates of several vaccine-preventable diseases, including whooping cough, diptheria, measles, and polio were falling before the vaccines for each disease were introduced. The the article quotes Andrew Weil:

        Scientific medicine has taken credit it does not deserve for some advances in health. Most people believe that victory over the infectious diseases of the last century came with the invention of immunisations. In fact, cholera, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, etc, were in decline before vaccines for them became available – the result of better methods of sanitation, sewage disposal, and distribution of food and water.

        Bill Maher has said similar things about vaccines, and the “vaccines didn’t save us” gambit has become a staple of anti-vaccine websites. For example, one particularly ignorant blogger (URL Removed – Malware -webmaster) wrote:

        The mythology surrounding vaccines is still pervasive, the majority of the population still believes, in faith like fashion, that vaccines are the first line of defense against disease. The true story is that nutrition and psychological/emotional health are the first line of defense against disease.

        Vaccines are a concoction of chemical adjuvants and preservatives coupled with virus fragments and have clearly been implicated in the astounding rise in neurological disorders around the world, yet the ‘popular’ media has embedded itself as a spokesperson for the pharmaceutical cartel and simply does not report in any responsible way the real situation.

        Ah, yes, the “toxins” gambit! Of course, it is true that better sanitation is a good thing and has decreased the rate of transmission of some diseases for which sanitation can do so, many infectious diseases are transmitted person-to-person through the air from aerosolized drops of saliva from coughs and sneezes or from being deposited on objects that people touch frequently, like doorknobs and other fomites.

        The “vaccines didn’t save us” strategy is a distortion, as I will show. The best way to demonstrate this is to go on to the very first website that currently shows up on a Google search for “vaccines didn’t save us.” Although the post is from November, it’s the main post that’s been spreading this lie since then. Entitled Proof That Vaccines Didn’t Save Us, it’s one of the most breathtakingly spectacularly intellectually dishonest bits of anti-vaccine propaganda that I’ve ever seen. I say that not because it uses a common anti-vaccine distortion, but rather because it ups the ante by adding a new one clearly designed to address the criticism of the old one. That new distortion hides it in plain sight, too, which is why I have to give the blogger props for sheer chutzpah. Actually, I have to give some backhanded kudos to the person who devised the graphs used in this post, Raymond Obomsawin, PhD. They represent the classic anti-vaccine lie, combined with some very clever cherry picking. I won’t take them all on in this post. Maybe I’ll take some of them on in a future post. In the meantime, what I will do is to take on the first several, because they represent a common anti-vaccine theme that is very similar to the one sounded by the this disingenuous post.

        In fact, let’s look at the Vaccination Library claims first. Notice that there are six graphs, four of which are for vaccine-preventable diseases for which widespread vaccination was undertaken, two for which it was not. All of them show decreasing death rates from various diseases. Wow! It seems like slam dunk evidence, doesn’t it? Vaccines didn’t save us! After all, death rates were declining years before the vaccine, and they were declining for the diseases that didn’t even need a vaccine!

        Death rates.

        Here’s the problem. It’s not surprising that death rates were declining before introduction of the vaccines. Medicine was improving. More importantly, supportive care was improving. For example, take the case of polio. Before the introduction of the iron lung and its widespread use, for example, if a polio patient developed paralysis of the respiratory muscles, he would almost certainly die. The iron lung allowed such patients to live. Some even survived in an iron lung for decades. No doubt improved nutrition also played a role as well. However, if you want to get an idea of the impact of vaccines on infectious disease, take a look at this graph from the CDC of measles incidence, not death rates:
        CDC Measles Incidence Graph

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Neil, that is a hell of a lot of words to say “You guys are lying!” by telling the truth. The death rates of virtually all “vaccine-preventable diseases” dropped tremendously BEFORE their vaccines were developed. That’s EXACTLY what we say. If you want to argue incidence rates, that’s a completely DIFFERENT point. But what is it that people say about “these diseases” when they want to scare us into vaccinating? They talk about those “deadly diseases.” They don’t talk about that week home from school with a fever and a rash, as measles boils down to for the vast majority of children in industrialized countries (including the vast majority of the 3-4,000,000 cases of measles in the U.S. per year before the first measles vaccine was licensed), they talk about how “deadly” it is. That means that DEATH rates are extremely important and germane to the discussion.

        And polio is probably the ONLY illness where death rates may not be the MOST important issue because of the significant risk of long-term paralysis, but there are many, many other issues to talk about with respect to polio and the polio vaccine such as the Cutter Incident, wherein experimental vaccines GAVE many people paralytic polio, the contamination of over 90 million doses with a cancer-causing simian virus, the redefinition of polio right after the introduction of the vaccine so that the majority of cases would no longer count, automatically dropping incidence rates, and the fact that polio was a relatively harmless virus until the 20th century. What was it about the 20th century that made the poliovirus so much more invasive? And is there something similar operating with the current “polio-like illness” that may come from an enterovirus?

  5. joe says:

    professor TMR You were not happy with Wikepedia, well this is an excerpt from the Salk Institute– In the United States, the 1952 polio epidemic became the worst outbreak in the nation’s history. Of nearly 58,000 cases reported that year 3,145 died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis.

    Three years later, Dr. Jonas Salk became a national hero when he developed the first safe and effective polio vaccine in 1955 with the support of the March of Dimes. In the two years before the vaccine was widely available, the average number of polio cases in the U.S. was more than 45,000. By 1962, that number had dropped to 910.DO YOU REALLY WANT TO BACK TO THOSE DAYS?

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      The Salk Institute? Who is MORE invested in the idea that Salk was a hero than the Salk Institute? Seriously, the CDC is as skewed a source as I will lend any credence to, and they quote 20,000 cases of “paralysis” per year in the early ’50s. As indicated previously, to count as “paralysis” a patient only had to exhibit paralytic symptoms for 24 hours. The vast majority of cases of “paralysis” were short-term in nature. After the definition changed, a case wasn’t counted as “paralysis” unless the patient still had residual paralysis after 60 days. In addition, polio cases did not require any laboratory confirmation of poliovirus in the early 1950s, but did later. What matters is the overall rate of “acute flaccid paralysis.” It’s impossible to know if I would want to “go back to those days” because of changing definitions; we don’t actually know if the overall rate of paralysis is any lower than it was then. What we do know is that it is RISING now. However, I WOULD like to go “back to those days” in terms of the robustness of the average child’s health, yes. I am not as old as you are, but I have six older siblings ranging in age from 71 to 59, all of which (aside from the one who was born with a hole in his heart) enjoyed far better health than I and my younger brother, despite the fact that they grew up in the era of leaded gasoline, ubiquitous high-tar cigarette smoking, and pregnant moms who thought nothing of a cocktail or two.

      None of us at TMR believe that vaccines are the only factor in the epidemic of chronic illness in today’s children, the ubiquity of toxins in our environment, especially our food, the ridiculous overuse of antibiotics, and a host of other factors play into it. But vaccines are by no means blameless, and again to make today’s health decisions based on what little was known in the 1950s is to be foolhardy at best.

  6. joe says:

    professor TMR I have never and will never say that “vaccination does not work.” I think MOST vaccines DO decrease the absolute number of cases of infectious disease, but that I also think that the true costs of that decrease is not counted. Nice to see that you agree that vaccinations work,true costs have been counted ( contrary to your belief ) and the consensus from the scientific community, you know,the people who go to universities is that the small number of vaccine injuries is acceptable for the good of the majority,in other words about 0.1 percent versus 99 percent, you project to me that you would rather forgo the safety and well being of 99 percent to protect 0.1 percent,you probably would be happy to have no vaccination and go back to the old days when 500 thousand people died every year worldwide,ARE YOU FOR REAL? PS 1n 1954 i lost 4 mates just in my class to Polio and i remember their names.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Joe, I’m sorry but your comment is pretty incoherent. Just saying that “the true costs have been counted” doesn’t in any way make it true. There are plenty of people in the scientific community, “you know the people who went to universities” (like myself, majored in Physics at the best college in the country according to Forbes) who disagree with you. The consensus you are talking about is manufactured consensus that doesn’t really exist. The CDC and the pharmaceutical companies have a fabulous PR network that is aware that if they repeat a lie enough times many people (like you) will believe it. They don’t count on the people like me who actually read the sources they’re citing.

      And, again, saying that 0.1 percent of the population is injured by vaccines doesn’t make it true. If it WERE true, if vaccinations were actually IMPROVING the health of 99% of the population, why do think there is even a controversy? And why do you think that more than 50% of children in the most highly vaccinated country in the world are chronically ill? Do you honestly think that people would not LOVE a “get out of sickness free” card? The fact that people are NOT consuming any and all vaccines they can is the smoke that should tell you there is a real fire blazing somewhere.

      I am very sorry to hear that you lost four mates in your class to polio, but as you can see from CDC statistics (who had every incentive to present the worst possible scenario), that was an EXTREMELY unusual phenomenon. If there were that many children who had poliovirus (or some other virus) invading their central nervous systems, chances are extremely good that there was some common environmental component that made it much more invasive than typical in your area. The vast majority of poliovirus infections are so mild as to be unnoticeable according the WHO and the CDC. Other people’s calculations will be colored by their drastically different experiences. And others still will be able to see the whole picture and base their decisions on true likelihoods for their time and place.

      I can see why, given your experience, you feel as you do, but discounting the experience of children today who are on average living much sicker lives than children in the ’50s is just wrong. Of course, I don’t want to “go back to the old days” in terms of death rates for any disease (which is what I assume you meant, as 55 MILLION people die every year), but there is very little likelihood that we would. The death rates for all infectious diseases dropped dramatically before their respective vaccines were introduced, and death rates have dropped similarly for diseases that have no vaccine at all. Assuming that not vaccinating would return us to the 19th century is not logical. Would there be more cases of measles? Certainly. But the final assessment of what that would mean for the health of the entire population has not been done. For many it would certainly mean that their health would be significantly better. Should those people be required to sacrifice their health to reduce the likelihood that some other person never encounters measles? The answers are not nearly so cut-and-dried as you’d like to believe.

  7. joe says:

    ProfessorTMR these are my figures from wikipedia. At its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, polio would paralyze or kill over half a million people worldwide every year.[2]—-And how many people die every year from vaccine injury.MINISCULE!

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Wikipedia, reallY? You can’t even cite the source Wikipedia gives? That’s an extremely vague answer and doesn’t give any idea of the level of threat in a first world country. Why would a worldwide number from 70 years ago figure into YOUR decision? Are you at risk because of someone 9,000 miles away and 75 years away? Me? I’m going to base MY decisions for MY family on the risks they ACTUALLY face, not some theoretical risk they may have faced in an impoverished country 75 years ago. And death from polio just isn’t one of them, while death or disabling from vaccine injury IS one of them. Given their genetic background and tendencies, harm from vaccines is a virtual inevitability. While you might consider the risk of dying from vaccine injury “minuscule,” the parents of children who have done so have a VERY different perspective. And the parents of children who were functioning quite well until a round of vaccines (especially the athletic young women and girls who have been killed or whose lives have been shattered due to Gardasil reactions) knocked them down — some of them for good, are well used to their children and their concerns being dismissed with the word “rare,” but what so many fail to realize is that while dropping dead immediately after a vaccine may be rare, “lesser” harm in the form of lifelong disability immune system (and thus neurological system and endocrine system) dysfunction is anything but.

  8. joe says:

    TO PROFESSOR TMR, are you calling me a liar? I lost many mates in primary school from Polio,yes they DIED many of them,the statistics from the 1940s to 1950s worldwide around half a million people died from Polio per annum,get your figures right.STOP your fear mongering, the science is in,there is NO debate,NOTHING is perfect,the dangers of vaccination is MINISCULE,the benefits are ENORMOUS

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I wasn’t calling you a liar, but now I am. Get my figures right? Where are YOURS coming from? Mine came straight from the CDC. We’re not talking “around the world,” we’re talking about YOUR “mates in primary school” who supposedly DIED from polio. I’m guessing that your use of the words “per annum” and “primary school” mean that you didn’t grow up in the United States, where it is clear that it is EXCEEDINGLY unlikely that you knew “many” kids who died of polio. So where did you grow up? Where was this mythical primary school where “many” children were dying of polio in the 1940s and 1950s?

      The “dangers of vaccination” for YOU may be “minuscule,” but as I PERSONALLY know many people who have had family members whose lives were destroyed by vaccine reactions, I am well aware that they are anything BUT “minuscule” for them. As as the vast majority of those people were never at risk of the vast majority of illnesses they were vaccinated for (including polio), for them the benefits are not only NOT enormous, they are negligible at best.

      • joe says:

        “Personally know many people who have had family members whose lives were destroyed by vaccine reactions” Thats a lie,how does it feel to be called a liar?My mates did not “supposedly” die from Polio they DID BLOODY die from POLIO, they were the lucky ones,the unlucky ones are left with calipers on their legs and other problems for the rest of their lives the mythical school is EAST CORRIMAL PRIMARY SCHOOL 1954, seeing as how clever you are, i am sure you will find out the location of the school hint not USA , I am 71 years of age, i saw first hand what these deadly preventable diseases are capable of.Don’t preach to me about vaccine injury because it is MINISCULE.BLOODY MINISCULE.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Okay, Joe. It’s possible that YOUR primary school was particularly hard hit by “polio” (though, as you can see from the two articles I linked in another comment that paralysis was and is connected to many other viruses), as the CDC numbers indicate it is extremely unlikely that virtually any school in the United States was hit that hard. So YOUR experience, if you are not lying, is certainly not universal, and while it clearly affects YOUR thinking on the subject, for someone else in a different time and place it may be completely irrelevant.

        There are currently HALF A MILLION kids in the U.S. alone (the country with the highest vaccination rate in the world) with autism, and there are many, many more with seizure disorders, life-threatening food allergies, digestive disorders that make eating impossible, mitochrondrial disorders that make functioning very difficult, and immune dysfunction that make it nearly impossible to fight off infection, not to mention ordinary autoimmune diseases. And, yes, I do know many, many of them PERSONALLY. I could give names, but I won’t because they don’t deserve that. More than half of the children in the U.S. today are living with a chronic health condition, many of them are on prescription medications that they expect to be on “for life.” In other words, children today are MUCH SICKER than children were in the 1950s, at least here in the United States, when children expected to have a half-dozen weeklong bouts with “communicable diseases” before they reached adulthood. I can’t pretend to know what the overall health of children was in New South Wales, but American children were pretty damned robust overall in that era. So don’t preach to ME about your “BLOODY MINUSCULE.” You don’t even see the tip of the iceberg.

      • joe says:

        Professor TMR here is an excerpt from your CDC. Polio vaccine was licensed in the United States in 1955. During 1951-1954, an average of 16,316 paralytic polio cases and 1879 deaths from polio were reported each year (9,10). Polio incidence declined sharply following the introduction of vaccine to less than 1000 cases in 1962 and remained below 100 cases each year afterwards TELL ME NOW THAT VACCINATION DOES NOT WORK.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        I have never and will never say that “vaccination does not work.” I think MOST vaccines DO decrease the absolute number of cases of infectious disease, but that I also think that the true costs of that decrease is not counted.

        Now, with respect to the “sharp decline” in polio cases after the introduction of the polio vaccine. The years you are quoting were the peak years for paralytic disease, supposedly due to poliovirus, though that was rarely confirmed in a laboratory. Something to consider is WHY the numbers were so much higher in those years than ever before. And 1879 deaths divided by 50 states, is approximately 38 per state. Again, those numbers are far too low to make it credible that someone would have “lost” “many” schoolmates to polio. (And another perspective on this is that we are — repeatedly — told here in the U.S. that the “flu kills 30,000 a year!” and the majority of people I know, myself most definitely included are not and have never been afraid of the flu. Of course, that number is hugely suspect in the first place, but it seems in comparison that the fear induced by polio was out of proportion to the actual threat. Often we can’t know that till after the fact, however, so I would certainly not blame anyone for being afraid.)

        Were you aware that the definition of polio changed in 1954? Most people are not, so it’s no shame if you aren’t, but according to Dr. Bernard Greenberg, head of the Department of Biostatistics of the University of North Carolina School of Public Health: “In order to qualify for classification as paralytic poliomyelitis, the patient had to exhibit paralytic symptoms for at least 60 days after the onset of the disease. Prior to 1954, the patient had to exhibit paralytic symptoms for only 24 hours. Laboratory confirmation and the presence of residual paralysis were not required. After 1954, residual paralysis was determined 10 to 20 days and again 50 to 70 days after the onset of the disease. This change in definition meant that in 1955 we started reporting a new disease, namely, paralytic poliomyelitis with a longer lasting paralysis.”

        Interesting that that change in definition happened JUST as Salk’s vaccine was being disseminated, wasn’t it? Here is another account by Dr. Suzanne Humphries who is diligent and conscientious in her research. I have personally looked that the AFP numbers on the WHO’s website with respect to India, which supposedly “eradicated” polio due to a mass vaccination program, and she is correct. There is just as much paralysis as there has ever been. What good is “eradicating” polio if your risk of paralysis is still as great or greater than before it was “eradicated”?

        I’m not trying to prove you wrong or myself right. I’m saying we need to see the WHOLE picture and make our choices based upon what’s in front of us right now, today, where we are, while taking our own genetic and health histories and those of our children into account. In other words, question that which you believe and why — and THINK about your choices instead of following old thinking and beliefs that may have been the best we could do 75 years ago, but today…? Not so much.

  9. What I find extra fascinating is the CDC’s assertion that you shouldn’t take advice from a “mom blog” but then they are paying people to give the advice they want out there. I would really like to see (via Freedom of Information Act if needed) the final report of how much money they spent to run this campaign, how many bloggers they used and the total reach of the campaign.

  10. Janem1276 says:

    I’m just wondering where are all these supposed anti-vax bashers? Every site I’ve been on the pro-vaxxers that bring up inconsistencies in the story/blog/video etc are the ones bashed with much more vitriol. Neither side should be making ad hominem attacks as those do not contribute to any discussion.

  11. susan welch says:

    Thank you so much, not just for the article but, also, for your considered and wonderful responses.
    I would like to ask Lorraine why she is so angry, though.

  12. Hans Scholl says:

    Lorraine – have a read of this :

    http://jameslyonsweiler.com/2016/03/27/you-know-nothing-about-autism-john-snow/

    Here, Senator Warren, and the rest of the Senate, and by extension, the People of the United States of America are being lied to by the most senior ranking official in the CDC about not just a few paltry studies that might show links between vaccines and autism – but about ALL studies showing how, and why, vaccines can cause autism in some people.

    That’s right. LIED TO.

    • Naomi says:

      That should be reason enough to even temporarily repeal SB277

    • joe says:

      According to you, all people getting vaccinated will suffer from Autism,are you for real?

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Apparently, you either suffer from very poor reading comprehension or have read very little on this site, including this piece. NO ONE has EVER said “all people getting vaccinated will suffer Autism.” Nor does anyone think it. Does that mean that vaccines don’t cause autism? Well, let’s look at another relationship we know to be causal: no one has ever said “all people who smoke will suffer from lung cancer.” Does that mean that smoking does not cause lung cancer? Hell no. Same is true for autism. In addition, just as smoking does not cause ALL lung cancer, vaccines do not cause all autism.

    • joe says:

      Yes but Dr Thompson did go on to say that parents should continue to vaccinate their children,please do not cherry pick.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Cherry pick? Really? You’re going to pretend that the standard disclaimer that HAS to be put into every public statement on vaccines, especially when the person making the statement works for the CDC, the pharmaceutical industry, or the media supported by that industry, has some sort of validity when in the same breath the scientist is saying “WE COMMITTED RESEARCH FRAUD AND HID IMPORTANT FINDINGS”? Talk about cherry picking…

      • Naomi A. Gold says:

        We should have the choice.

  13. Hans Scholl says:

    Lorraine again . what are your thoughts here :

    SENIOR GOVERNMENT SCIENTIST BREAKS 13 YEARS OF SILENCE
    “I have stopped lying” – CDC – Center for Disease Control Whistleblower
    Revealed: CDC Whistleblower Who Falsified MMR/Autism Safety Study (Vaccines)
    William Thompson CDC: “It’s the lowest point of my career that I went along with that paper … we didn’t report significant findings.”
    William Thompson CDC: “The higher ups wanted to do certain things and I went along with it.”
    William Thompson CDC: “I’m completely ashamed of what I did … I have great shame now when I meet families with kids with autism because I have been part of the problem.”
    William Thompson CDC: “Oh my God, I cannot believe we did what we did.”
    William Thompson CDC: “I have stopped lying.”

    What is he talking about ?

    And I can drag out the SimpsonWood 2000 quotes too if you wish ?
    16 years ago . There is no doubt about the extent of the criminality here .

  14. Hans Scholl says:

    Lorraine – what do you think of the FDA , are they good enough for you ?

    FDA document admits vaccines are linked to autism:
    http://www.naturalnews.com/053469_vaccines_autism_FDA_documents.html

    Autism is even mentioned in vaccine inserts for the MMR .

    • Naomi says:

      That being true- can someone please explain to me how our politicians are able to make vaccines mandatory? They are forcing us to play Russian Roulette woth our kids lives.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        That is exactly what it comes down to. And they are practicing medicine without a license.

      • Just Checking In says:

        Many of the politicians filing mandatory vaccine laws have either accepted cash directly from Pharma, or in sleight-of-hand way through organizations belong to, that they don’t have to report. For example, Women In Government (WIG) has traditionally accepted tens of thousands of dollars from drug companies as “sponsors.” Since WIG is a 501(c)(3), the sponsors get to deduct their donations to this “charity” from their taxes. WIG then uses the money to throw lavish extravaganza “educational” seminars at 5-star hotels around the country. They also use some of the money to dole out “scholarships” to the lady members, who are state legislators, who can use their scholarships for travel and registration and hotel fees. At the seminars, the lady legislators attend “educational” meetings presented by so-called “experts” in the field, who by no coincidence are either direct drug company employees, or who are paid speakers representing drug company interests. To make sure the lady legislators get as much information as possible from them, the drug companies can also pay to set up booths in the “trade” fairs at the conferences. You’re talking big bucks here. Tens of thousands of dollars funneling in to a closed group whose members don’t have to report anything because the funds the members get are called “scholarships” and no one outside the members-only circle is the wiser. Bought and paid for by Pharma. And it’s all legal.

      • Layla says:

        they are able to do it because the majority of people in this country allow it. every single one of those who have supported mandatory vaccinations and all of those that sit there silently allowing it to happen have blood on their hands.

  15. Hans Scholl says:

    Lorraine – is this good enough for you ?

    Julie Gerberding was forced to admit that vaccines could trigger autism, although this has been conveniently forgotten:

    “….. if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it [vaccination] can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.”.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      What she wasn’t saying was “We have already compensated approximately 530 cases of this, and there are many, many more.”

      • Hans Scholl says:

        In the UK they never pay out (or very rarely) and limit the payout to up to £120,000

        I saw a paper the other day saying there are 600,000 autistics in the UK now , presumably all of those are in the 0-25 age group . I shouldnt’ laugh . I can tell you 600,000 is an underestimate , I’d say its 1M+ . The UK\US are bankrupt entities to have orchestrated a project such as this . The BBC fully and completely cooperates and accommodates the continuing carnage . And in the UK they say there are 1M+ Alzheimer sufferers (aluminium) – so the plan is vast in its scope hitting unsuspecting individuals all along the lifecycle .

  16. Hans Scholl says:

    Attention Lorraine

    I suspect if I threw down a piece of paper the size of a postage stamp , and asked you to write everything you knew about vaccines on it , that, that same the piece of paper would be too large for you .

    Why don’t you try this quiz for me :
    https://www.qzzr.com/c/quiz/158296/test-your-vaccine-knowledge

    And HONESTLY let me know what you score . Although I suspect honesty could be an issue for you .

  17. Hans Scholl says:

    Attention Lorraine (learn smthg for yourself \ don’t miss it )

    Breaking…Vaxxed, the film you can’t see, will be screened in New York!
    Mar
    29
    by Jon Rappoport

    Vaxxed: the spell is broken: Angelika Theater will screen it in NYC!

    by Jon Rappoport

    March 29, 2016

    Breaking… I’ve just been informed that Vaxxed, the film about the vaccine-autism connection you can’t see…is now booked at the Angelika Film Center in New York.

    It will start screening this Friday, April 1, and go through the next Thurs.

    If you live anywhere near NY, get there and see it. Help pack the house. END THE CENSORSHIP.

  18. Lynn says:

    Alright, I’m back again. For some reason, I can’t get this vaccine-Autism link out of my brain- even though I did my research, and read the studies and have seen that there is no reported link between the two.

    Today at the clinic I work for, we saw two young twin girls for evaluation for early support services. We had to tell the parents that we strongly suspect that both girls are on the spectrum. Many of the signs were there, and they are not even 2 yet! It was very sad, and we had to refer them out for further diagnostic testing (to a clinic that will administer that ADOS).

    Much of my work this year has been with kids on the spectrum. Now here’s my issue… I’ve never believed in an ASD vaccine link. But recently after reading all of these posts, I can’t quite get the idea out of my mind, even though I read all of the research articles that explicitly state that no such connection exists. I know one of the TMR mothers in real life, which is what lead me to discover this site in the first place (truth be told, I just thought she was delusional, and I’m still not convinced that she isn’t!)

    Then today, to my own horror, I discovered that I desperately wanted to ask these parents whether they had vaccinated the twins, and whether they had seen any signs of regression immediately following vaccination or any other symptoms. I REALLY wanted to ask them this but didn’t. I am sure my colleagues would have looked at me like I had lost my mind if I had. Truth be told, I’m beginning to wonder whether I’ve lost my mind… So now I am back, and I am looking even harder and reading even more because it is has become apparent that I have not fully answered this question to my own satisfaction.

    So my question to you Prof. is do you have actual research (good research- not pseudoscience. I won’t insult your intelligence. I assume you know the difference. I ask that you give me the same benefit of the doubt.) I have not found anything even remotely reputable on any research database that would make me believe that there is really a link between the two. Can you provide me with some studies? You mentioned in your blog (or maybe it was one of the videos) that you have all been asked for studies and research, so surely you are familiar with that question by now. Can you provide me with this information or a link to a blog post where you may have covered it? I have read many of the TMR posts but am not capable of reviewing all of them (I lead a very busy life)- so it is possible that if such a blog entry already exists, I have missed it.

    Part of me would really like to believe you. This became evident to me today when I almost asked those parents about vaccination, even though I believed I had already put this issue to rest in my own mind. I think I would also like to believe that the TMR mom I know is not delusional haha. So help me out. You all believe this with such conviction that it has been difficult for me to shake the notion, and you all seem so articulate and intelligent. I think that I really do want to believe you. So help me. What is it that you have read that has made you believe in this link with such conviction?

    Part of me wanted to believe in this link but it has been in no way supported by any reputable source that I’ve read. I have read MANY research articles that suggest that there is no link (research conducted in various countries- and not just this one, where integrity is questionable thanks to Big Pharma). I have read Dr. Sears’ book about vaccination (which is an excellent example of exactly the sort of pseudo-scientific literature I am not looking for). And most importantly, I read the panel’s report for the Wakefield hearing and sat horrified as I read about the undisclosed financial interest he had in the matter, the unnecessary medical interventions (some would say abuse) he subjected child after child to, and the revolting accusation (and admission of guilt) that he took blood from children at his own son’s birthday party! It was a spectacular example of the least ethical research I have ever seen conducted! Even if it had not been so horribly unethical in nature, the study’s findings were correlational at best, and with such a small “n” they never could have been generalized to the public. So please, tell me what it is that I’m missing because when I went looking, that’s what I found. I thought that was good enough for me but as I sat today wondering about the twins in front of me, and whether their parents had noticed any changes after vaccination- it became apparent that I still don’t feel satisfied with the answer, and am still not quite sure what to believe yet. I feel mostly confident that there isn’t a link but you have managed to instill such doubt that now I find myself wondering “yeah, but what if…”

    If you’re simply delusional conspiracy theorists, than you are by far the most intelligent and persuasive I have ever encountered, and you’re beginning to make me question my own sanity. Today as I felt suspicious of the vaccinations those girls received, I thought “My god, I’m losing it!” Delusional conspiracy theorist really will not look so hot on my resumé.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Oh, Lynn, I applaud you for listening to that voice in the face of the seeming mountain of evidence against us.

      I’ve written a few blogs that take you through the logic of it, “Critical Thinking 101: The Vaccine Debate,” “Critical Thinking 201: Vaccine Science,” “Anti-Science: You Keep Using that Word. I Do Not Think It Means what You Think It Means,”and a recent one on Autoimmunity.

      In order to find the clues, you often have to read between the lines. For instance, when the Verstraeten study on Thimerosal came out I read article after article claiming that this would “settle the question once and for all.” It was “proof” that vaccines did not cause autism. Some VERY well-known science bloggers were among them. Well, I read the study and the study’s OWN conclusion was that it proved exactly nothing. Verstraeten himself tried to stop people from saying that because it was a neutral study the way it was finally published — by the way the final analysis was nonsensical the way it was broken down. It seemed DESIGNED to get a neutral response. What scientist worth his hat designs a study that takes four years to reach publication that proves nothing? Anyone who read the study, or even the conclusion, or the letter that Verstraeten wrote on the subject could see that. So why were so many people lying about what it said? Did they truly not understand it? Or did they just not want OTHERS to understand it? Whatever it was, it didn’t add up. Then we find out from Freedom of Information Act requests that there was a secret meeting to discuss the clear association between early exposure to Thimerosal in vaccines and neurological disorders with THE VACCINE MANUFACTURERS PRESENT. Then we find out that there were OTHER MORE statistically significant analyses that showed an even STRONGER link when the study was analyzed in the most obvious way if you were looking to detect a signal. The way Verstraeten FIRST analyzed it. When the study came out researchers asked to have access to the same datasets so that they could crunch the numbers for themselves. There’s a reason for the saying, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” The data was DELIBERATELY made inaccessible. This was a taxpayer-funded study. The data is supposed to be available for replication. So why did they make it inaccessible?

      Then the MMR timing study came out and, again, that was “proof” that “vaccines do not cause autism.” Ummmmm… No. It doesn’t support the idea, but one epidemiological study on the TIMING of one vaccine doesn’t “prove” anything about even that ONE vaccine, much less the entirety of the vaccine schedule. They were comparing vaccinated children with children who were vaccinated slightly later. Now, after William Thompson, the CDC whistleblower, came forward, we know that there was data hidden in THAT study as well. Data that HIGHLY implicates the MMR in autism in African-American boys and in children with what they called “isolated autism.”

      So two of the MOST-often pointed to CDC studies cited as “proof” are anything but. That sort of thing makes me extremely curious. Then we find out that there are huge flaws in the Danish studies that are “supportive” of the “proof.” Those Danish studies were run by Poul Thorsen who is wanted by the federal government for fraud. Only Thorsen lives happily in Denmark and IS WRITING SCIENTIFIC PAPERS. Why is someone on the FBI’s “most wanted” list for defrauding the CDC of over a million dollars being left alone in Denmark?

      On the other side, however, there are all sorts of studies implicating mercury in general, and Thimerosal in particular in neurological conditions. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. did a thorough literature review on Thimerosal and published the results in Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak. (By the way, Trace Amounts is a fabulous documentary on the subject. You’ll find Eric Gladen, the filmmaker, another intelligent, articulate, and persuasive mind on the subject.) More studies implicating aluminum in general, and aluminum adjuvants in particular in neurological conditions. Only one study that I know of has even considered the neurological implications of putting the two together as would be likely if a child received two vaccines at the same time (which happens all the time). They found that the synergistic toxicity was much higher than the toxicity of either by itself.

      One of the reasons Frank DeStefano of the CDC rejects the possibility out of hand, or at least he says he does, is that it’s not “plausible.” I find that disingenous as well. The immune system is intimately connected to the neurological system such that it’s been called the “neuroimmune” system quite often in scientific literature. Just last year we found they were DIRECTLY connected by lymph vessels leading to the brain. Several chemicals in vaccines are known to make the blood-brain barrier more permeable, such as polysorbate 80 and aluminum. Vaccines are KNOWN to cause immune dysfunction (I trace some of the history of that in the autoimmunity blog) such as allergies and autoimmunity causing chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation of that sort in the brain is a hallmark of autism. Genetic studies have shown that the genes of people with autism don’t differ all that much from the genes of people in the general population, except for the fact that genes having to do with inflammation are “switched on.” Why on earth is so implausible that repeatedly artificially hyper-stimulating the immune system to the point of dysfunction would have a similar effect on the neurological system? One thing that you find if you look for the patterns is that immune system dysfunction is RAMPANT in the autism community.

      There’s so much more, but I have to go to bed. This list is a bunch of studies and papers. They are not ALL of the same quality, but the overall patterns are pretty consistent and clear: http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/2007/06/no-evidence-of-any-link.html.

      And I hear ya about “delusional conspiracy theorist.” It’s not fun.

      • joe says:

        You have written a few blogs professor TMR, are you an Immunologist? If not you are not then its only your opinion which is no better than my opinion.My opinion is that you are no more a Professor than i am.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        I’ve written many more than a FEW blogs, Joe. And, no, I’m not an immunologist and I am VERY upfront about the fact that I, like everyone else, am expressing my opinion. But I, unlike many others, actually research the FACTS behind the subjects that I am interested in and will cite them. Then I, unlike many others, THINK about those facts and what they mean. I also encourage EVERYONE else to do the same. I don’t care if you agree with me as long as you actually investigate the things you are being told that don’t make sense. How can studies that show high correlation between vaccines and autism when the data is analyzed the way a scientist should analyze it possibly be pointed to by anyone who is not interested in deceiving you as “proof” that they don’t cause autism? Answer: they can’t. Aren’t you even the tiniest bit interested in WHY they are trying to deceive us?

        I am also quite upfront about the “Professor” being my nickname on this site, and just like Goddess, Saint, and Princess, it is not to be taken literally. None of that changes the essential facts that I write about, however. Whether or not my opinion is better than YOUR opinion depends upon the quality of the information that it is based upon and the quality of the thinking that lies behind it. You are entitled to your opinion, no matter how different it is from mine, but if you base it on studies that are known to be fraudulent or the quality of your thinking is sloppy I will challenge it.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I’m sorry, it was late last night and I was anticipating the tticket sales this morning as well as my son’s departure on a school camping trip, so I completely forgot to address the “unnecessary medical interventions” that Wakefield supposedly “subjected child after child to.” First off, Wakefield was not a clinician. He performed exactly ZERO medical procedures on the children. The medical procedures that WERE performed were performed because they were warranted. The people who thought they WEREN’T warranted were in the “they have gastrointestinal symptoms because autism” camp that do not TREAT serious bowel disease in children with autism, instead treating the resulting (pain-induced) “behavior” with powerful psychotropic drugs. Wakefield’s colleague John Walker-Smith (the last name on the infamous case series that did not pretend to be anything other than an early report with suggestive findings) performed most of the procedures. Walker-Smith also had his medical license stripped by the ridiculous GMC proceeding in 2012, but his insurance company paid for an appeal and he was reinstated in 2012 by a judge who found no merit in the 2010 charges. http://www.ebcala.org/areas-of-law/vaccine-law/co-author-of-lancet-mmr-autism-study-exonerated-on-all-charges-of-professional-misconduct

      In addition, you might be interested to know what the PARENTS of those original sick children think of Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues who were among the first to take their concerns about their children’s bowel disease seriously. If the gastroenterology team at the Royal Free Hospital were performing invasive and “unnecessary medical interventions” on their children, you would think that loving parents would be up in arms and ready to burn the doctors at the stake. You’d better believe I would be. Oddly, that’s not the case for these parents: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHrgYxqcU0w. You may not be aware of it, but there is a VERY strong correlation between gastrointestinal illness and autism that many doctors are STILL unaware of and STILL not treating with anything other than psychotropic drugs. Changing that scenario is the mission of Jill Rubolino and Jeanna Reed of Autism is Medical. And the funny thing is that when that gastrointestinal disease is treated properly, the children often get well. One of our own members, known as The Rev, has watched this in action with her own son Noah, who has made incredible strides now that his severe bowel disease is under control.

      And, frankly, I have yet to understand what the big deal is about getting the control blood tests at a birthday party. Who cares when and how they were taken as long as it was ethically done? No one was forced to contribute their blood. The parents all consented as was necessary. How does the fact that it was a birthday party make it so different from going to a school or any other place and asking people if they would be willing to donate a blood sample?

    • Hans Scholl says:

      The term “conspiracy theorist” was a term invented by the CIA I understand to attempt to discredit and undermine and marginalise those people who were smart enough to see their handy work .

      Lynn – you’ve called it absolutely right . It takes a lot of research and work to get to through the mountains of misinformation and propaganda .
      And you talk about intelligence , try Linus Pauling (double nobel prize winner , and ranked one of the top20 scientist of all time) . Our ranks are filled with the best and finest minds there are (ProfessorTMR for instance , who is far too polite in my view) . But the reality is really rather simple in the end when you look at the cold hard facts , to recommend the injection of a mercury containing flu vaccine into a pregnant woman (all across the western world) , well it will only ever result in one obvious outcome (which is the likely abortion of the foetus – so what do you call that ?). and the flu vaccine is said to have an efficacy of no better than 0.5% . If you start with that cold hard fact and wander where you want after that .

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Ah, but look, Hans, where the politeness gets us: intelligent people start to question! 😉

      • joe says:

        Had the flu shot every year for the past ten years, have not had the flu for the past ten years, had every vaccination in my life, now i am 70 years old and i am not suffering from ANY medical ailments and i bet i am in better health than you, Stop your fear mongering.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Luck you, Joe. Now you realize that what is true for YOU isn’t necessarily applicable to ANYONE, much less EVERYONE, else, right? If you had smoked two packs a day for the last thirty years and didn’t develop lung cancer, would it be “fear mongering” to mention to a smoker that smoking is known to cause lung cancer?

        I always find it incredibly ironic when someone calls someone who doesn’t vaccinate a “fear mongerer” as they will usually be found talking about these “horrible diseases” that were causing so much death and destruction in their youth when the truth is in the 1960s, for instance, very few people were dying of “vaccine preventable illnesses” and our children enjoyed a level of health that was far higher than that which they enjoy today. But, of course, we’re not allowed to even ask whether the ridiculous rise in vaccine injections in young children have anything to do with it.

    • Layla says:

      I admit i didn’t read your whole post Lynn, but I am 100% certain you have not done very thorough research if you’ve only seen studies that claim there is no link. There are hundreds of studies showing at the very least cause for concern. I’m glad you are questioning things. Once you do, the truth becomes easily apparent and crystal clear. Truth is, this truth is hard to believe, because it is unbelievable! But true nonetheless (is that one word or 3!?)

    • Carol says:

      Lynn, part of the reason you haven’t found research supporting the vax/autism link is because the research is funded by the pharmaceutical companies, no independent research, and the results controlled and manipulated by them. The FDA, the media, public health organizations, politicians,t the CDC, WHO, those of us in the medical field…their reach is far flung and goes deep. But why believe me? Or any of us? Trust your gut. Ask that mom privately if you get the chance. The kids’ shot records are at the clinic, right? By the way, have you looked for any research on the long term safety of the current vaccine schedule? Or vaccines in general? There aren’t any. Yet vaccines are the only product of any kind anywhere in the world for which there is NO liability for damages. Can’t sue big pharma If your child is harmed by them. They have complete and total immunity. Ironic, don’t you think? And vaccines should be mandatory because…? Where there’s a risk, there must be a choice.

  19. I love your work.

    Your mini rant about democrats and corporate ties to politicians– are where two of my biggest interests intersect– health choice and the revolution happening right now in politics that is the Bernie Sanders campaign. I so deeply believe that (although Bernie has said some something –not much though– about believing in the efficacy of vaccines)– he will listen to the people (not the corporations) if/when he wins the presidential election.

    He truly is our best hope, and currently he’s looking hopeful. He is so strongly against corporate interests in politics. The corporate power of the media and pharmaceutical industry are what has gotten into this mess. Bernie is against both, and wants the power back with the people. He listens.

    I don’t even know where you stand about him, but you are in a unique position to influence a lot of people.. You are so smart (one of my favorite writers about vaccines), and there are a lot of Trump supporters in the “anti-vaccination” camp based on this issue we care about so much alone. But Trump isn’t necessarily against the corporate media or pharmaceutical industry if it helps his business. I just don’t trust him.

    Bernie has shone he is a more trustworthy candidate… and when I connect the dots, I feel very confident that he will listen. We just need to get him there first. -I don’t think now is the time for him to speak about this issue. The media would crucify him.

    At any rate it’s interesting that people are waking up on the issue of vaccines at the same time as this political revolution is happening! It’s quite exciting, and though we haven’t quite tipped the scales– we are headed in the right direction.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      TMR as an organization doesn’t get political, but personally speaking, Shauna, I am right there with you. Logically, the guy who sees how corporate money pulls the strings will be the one who will get what’s at the heart of the issue here. I have a feeling his prior statements on the subject were the result of someone who grew up believing that vaccines were an unassailable good. Personally, even though I was already resistant to living life on things like asthma medications (I wanted to get well, damn it, not live my life sick), even I never questioned the value of vaccines until I realized just how MANY were going to be going into my little baby. And after I did some minimal research and I realized how minuscule was the chance she would encounter hepatitis B, coupled with the fact that infants can’t mount mature antibody responses yet, I was LIVID that I had allowed someone to inject that into her.

      If you had asked me 20 years ago what I thought, or if I didn’t have babies in the last 20 years, I might have said something very similar to what he said. But I don’t think someone like Bernie Sanders could say what he said unless he believed the party line that vaccines really were the “get out of sickness free” card that they are advertised to be. Trouble is they’re not, and we know it. There is a cost, and the more the vaccines, the high the cost. And you know I’m not talking monetary cost. If he understood that, and I believe he can, he could be reached.

      • joe says:

        Yes it is ironic that i had to reply to your reply to me at this point but the fact is that in the 60s there was less children dying from vaccine preventable diseases BECAUSE they ( we ) were vaccinated, fact is i was there, i lost a lot of schoolmates to Polio,the lucky ones had a caliper on their leg.when the Polio vaccine came out,we rushed to get it.It is obvious to me that you were not “there,”I WAS”and i would not like to see us go back there because of fear mongers like you. The science is there,there is NO debate, the greatest advances in recent medical science is,PENICILLIN, ANTIBIOTICS, and VACCINATION,please vaccinate your children to help prevent these killer diseases from coming back.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        I grew up in the ’60s, and I happen to know that vaccine uptake in the ’60s was FAR lower (and later) than it is now. In the ’50s we vaccinated for smallpox, polio, and DPT. That’s it. Later, in the ’60s, we added measles, rubella, and mumps and the number of people with chronic illnesses began to rise. I personally got both kinds of measles vaccine, as well as the measles. I also got the rubella vaccine at approximately the age of 8, but it wasn’t until the mumps vaccine at 11 (which, by the way, made me sick for a week and gave a bad case of the mumps to an adolescent boy who was a friend of the family) that the allergies, asthma, and autoimmune issues really began. Those things, of course, are all present in large numbers of very young children these days. Let me tell you, it SUCKS to be gasping for breath on a regular basis or to be dependent upon medications that act like speed in the body just in order to breathe. I really feel for all the tiny little kids who have these issues today.

        I don’t believe you “lost a lot of schoolmates to Polio” unless perhaps you and your “schoolmates” were vaccinated with the Cutter version of the polio vaccine. You MIGHT have lost ONE or even two “schoolmates,” but “a lot”? Nope. Not credible. Even back in the “bad old days,” 95% of all polio cases were asymptomatic, meaning people wouldn’t even know they HAD it. And only a small percentage of the remaining cases had residual paralysis. http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/history-polio-poliomyelitis The very worst statistic I can find is that 30,000 people had paralytic polio in the U.S. in 1952, with 3,000 deaths, while the CDC says only 21,000 people with paralytic polio, so it’s likely that the number of deaths were significantly lower than 3,000 as well. That means an average of 60 per STATE, making it VERY unlikely that you personally had a “lot” of “schoolmates” who were “lost” to polio. I have six older siblings who lived through the ’50s polio scares just outside New York City. NONE of them EVER mentioned knowing anyone who had been “lost” to polio. By the way, did you know that the official definition of “paralytic polio” was changed dramatically as the vaccine was coming out, so that the absolute “number of cases” would drop instantly whether the vaccine worked or not? And you call US “fear mongers.”

        By the way, you should know that the overuse of antibiotics is most definitely implicated in the rise of autism and other chronic health conditions in children as well.

        And, sorry, but we will be making our OWN healthcare decisions for our families, based on ALL the available information.

  20. nostromo says:

    I’ll be blunt, I believe in vaccines and the scientists, nonetheless I totally support the right of the film makers to make their film, put across their story and evidence, and try and convince me – and others – otherwise.
    Let their film stand up to scrutiny. I’m genuinely surprised De Niro and the others were talked out of screening it and think that is quite ridiculous. You don’t debate or learn anything by shutting down the conversation.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I don’t think De Niro was “talked out of it.” I think he was threatened out of it. If the money goes, the festival goes. He knows that.

  21. Hans Scholl says:

    Pharma & the families have had to resort to stronger and more extreme means . For instance , because of the nagalase\vaccine\cancer rumour apparently 40+ honest doctors scientists and researchers have died \suicided or been plain murdered in a myriad of different ways . The US\UK doesn’t do that kind of thing right , China does .

  22. Lorraine says:

    Antivaxers are:
    Assholes
    Conspiracy theorists
    Google university graduates
    Anti science
    Pro disease
    Fearmongering
    Lists
    Deny children proper medical treatment when sick
    Armchair activists
    A dangerous cult

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 You completely missed the point of the piece, didn’t you? (This is one reason why the “kinder, gentler” thing isn’t going to work. You guys just can’t help yourselves.)

      Every vicious attack is another opportunity to exhibit “grace under pressure” and sway more people by being the more reasonable party.

      So I’ll just take this opportunity to provide some more information:

      “Fearmongering” is such an ironic charge to level at us because it’s the OPPOSITE of what we are. The medical community has always used fear to motivate people to vaccinate. And last year they made it completely over-the-top overt that fear was to be the primary strategy going forward because inciting fear is the ONLY way to get people to STOP thinking for themselves. The strategy is exemplified in this lovely article in Forbes: How Do You Change an Anti-Vaccine Parent’s Mind? Scare the Crap Out of Them. In general, people who don’t vaccinate are far less fearful of disease than people who do vaccinate. And we don’t want you to be afraid. We want you to take charge of your health and that of your children by THINKING carefully about what products you choose to consume.

      Anti-science? As a woman with a Physics degree from the number 1 college in the country according to Forbes, I got so sick of people with far less understanding of science throwing around the word “anti-science” that I wrote this in response: Anti-Science: “You Keep Using that Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.”

      “Pro disease”? I wish there were a good eye roll emoji I could put here. This is a website whose reason for being is to promote children’s health and well-being because we feel they have a right to live healthy lives. Enough said.

      “Deny children proper medical treatment when sick.” That’s the worst bit of bullshit I’ve ever heard. Many of the parents who follow our organization have sought out and spent more on more “proper medical treatment” than “ordinary” people can even imagine. In fact, most people we know are financially strapped because of medical costs. For many it has all been worth it, though, to see their children finally return to good health.

      “Armchair activists”? Sure, we’re “armchair” activists because we do some of our activism in our “armchairs,” but those people in the pictures from California AREN’T in their armchairs. And the people who stood vigil week after week outside the capitol in Sacramento weren’t in their armchairs. And the people who went to Atlanta to protest at the CDC last year weren’t in their armchairs. And the people who are going to the Power of One March in Washington next week won’t be in their armchairs. And the people who schedule meetings with their legislators at their home offices or in Washington aren’t in their armchairs. I personally, have been to Washington three times in the last two years and on television three times in the last year and a half, all most decidedly NOT in my armchair.

      “A dangerous cult”? You know, this one might be my VERY favorite because a cult is not a cult without brainwashing. The definition of brainwashing in Dictionary.com: “a method for systematically changing attitudes or altering beliefs, originated in totalitarian countries, especially through the use of torture, drugs, or psychological-stress techniques.” In other words, to belong you can’t think for yourself, you have to believe what the cult tells you to believe. WE, on the other hand, DON’T want you to “believe what we tell you to believe.” WE want you to think for yourself. Always. And we say so OFTEN. Many, many of our blogs exhort people to DO THE RESEARCH FOR YOURSELF. READ EVERYTHING. THINK!!!! Don’t take ANYONE’S “word for it,” including us.

      • Nick says:

        Right on, Professor!

      • Lynn says:

        Haha nice Prof! I have only recently begun looking into this controversy, and 90% of the time I find myself on the opposite side of the aisle (pro-vaccine) but I deeply enjoyed this response anyway.
        I guess this takes us back to your earlier quote from Mr. Ropiek: “There are millions of people who are ambivalent to some degree. When they hear the people being picked on defend their views, that has the real prospect of turning some of those people against vaccines.”
        I thought of that I as read your careful, thoughtful, tactful response to this most recent attack. Bravo.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Thanks, Lynn! I absolutely appreciate people who don’t agree but are willing to listen. When it comes down to it, we all want the same thing: healthy children. We simply disagree about how to go about it. Of course, much of that disagreement is due to the fact that children are not created biologically equal. Differences in genetic predispositions, gut microbiomes, and environmental exposures make tremendous differences in health outcomes and tremendous differences in response to further exposures.

      • Emma says:

        Love it! Couldn’t have said it any better. Well done and keep up the good work!

      • Jill says:

        Well said, Prof!

    • Hans Scholl says:

      Your life is on the line too Lorr .
      Start reading girl , the evidence is lying there in plain sight .

    • joe says:

      LORRAINE, you are my heroine, i could not agree more.

  23. Lu says:

    Once again, great work, Professor TMR.

  24. Nick says:

    Thank you, Professor, for exposing the big pharma PR machine! Brilliant work!

    • Nick says:

      …and yes, it’s going to be interesting to see how all the publicity around TFF and the film plays out. Looking forward to seeing the film, and hearing more of your words of wisdom, Professor!

  25. Heather says:

    I just saw the Vaxxed story on ABC news. DeNiro has actually sold out to their threats and pulled the opening of this movie! I’m so disgusted right now.
    Big pharma=evil.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Take heart. This is not the end. They cannot stop the film from being viewed even if they DO stop it from being viewed as Tribeca. The publicity is still GOLD. And there is nothing people want to see more than a film that has been BANNED.

      • KMB says:

        And there’s this amazing website where you can upload your movie for free, and it’s accessible to the whole world to watch. It’s called youtube.
        Seriously, because it was dropped from the Tribeca festival, it doesn’t mean it is banned.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Nice try. Just because one can get around a ban doesn’t mean the ban didn’t take place. But no worries. The film will be playing at the Angelika theater in New York City for six shows a day for a week beginning this Friday, April 1st. You can get tickets at: http://www.fandango.com/angelikafilmcenter_aaeci/theaterpage

    • joe says:

      Heather,does that mean you will no longer be taking any medication for the rest of your life? If you think BIG PHARMA is evil then no more medication for you?

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        You’d be surprised at the number of people who ARE minimizing “medication” in their lives. “Medication” in my family has been limited to occasional use of asthma inhalers and occasional use of ibuprofen or aspirin for nearly a decade. In any event, however, thinking “BIG PHARMA” is evil doesn’t necessarily imply rejection of every product they sell. You can think formula companies are evil for the way they market to third-world countries where the formula is literally killing babies, but still use their products here in the United States if you are unable to breast feed. The fact that you need something to feed your baby doesn’t make their marketing practices in third-world countries any less evil.

  26. Mary Pulles Cavanaugh says:

    Awesome job Professor! You Rocked this!
    Thank you!

  27. Sue Morgan says:

    And meanwhile, while people are waking up, I despair over what has happened in California. My grandchildren are either going to have to risk their lives in order to attain a free, public education (or even a costly private education), or else be homeschooled.

    • Naomi says:

      Me too. My 12 YR OLD vaccine free daughter cant begin 7tg grade without the TDAP. And 6 other vaccines. I toi am disgusted and angry. I am going to have her tested for titer immunity. Because she’s most likely been exposed to pertussis and measles she may have enough of an immunity to legally skip those vaccines. Look into it!

  28. Kate Gowen says:

    I always enjoy the well-researched, documented, contextualized, and considered information I find here, and I share your posts much more frequently than some of the other [apparently] like-minded sites I have encountered in researching these issues.

    So I would like to ask you a question– there are a number of such sites that routinely post the latest outrage from the CDC, major media, or Paul Offitt, inviting comments in the hope of gathering a groundswell of criticism of such outrages. Or at least, I assume that is the intention. Of course, they get a good number of the pro-Pharma bullies weighing in, too. My personal response is to hide them on my FaceBook newsfeed, because the criticism is far less prominent than the picture, the headline, the lede quoted from The Official Sources. And I don’t want that on my page. I don’t think most people read “the fine print” of comments; they glance things over and it adds to the weight of evidence for the prevailing view.

    Do you think I’m being overly picky? Or is there some other factor that I haven’t considered?

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      It’s a tough question, Kate. Personally, I often avoid it because what you pay attention to grows. I prefer to not give Offit any more attention than he deserves, which is pretty much zero. However, when something is appearing repeatedly in my feed from people who are not “in the know” on these matters (in other words, have never strayed beyond what is portrayed in mainstream media), then sometimes a thoughtful response is in order. So when I post something I virtually always post it with my comments IN the post, so that is what people associate with the headline or picture.

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