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Vaccines: Discredited Theory Thrown Out

Discussion in 'Other Hot Topics' started by sooz, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. SueM

    SueM Banned

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    Maybe or maybe not. I don't know if we can conclude one way or the other on that. For example, one of the main points of those who conclude that vaccines have nothing to do with autism is that the reason that the numbers of cases have so dramatically increased over the years is the "better diagnosing" idea. In other words, it isn't vaccines that are causing such an increase in autism but it's the increase in how doctors are diagnosing the children in greater numbers, etc... Personally, I can see the idea of better diagnosing in very high functioning children, but not for the full blown cases of autism... But I digress.... So, it would almost appear that with your comment above you *may* be trying to have it both ways. The increase in numbers of children has to do with better diagnosing (not vaccines) but when it comes to the numbers of cases not going down after a decrease in rates of mmr, that can't have anything to do with an increase in better diagnosing? You see what I mean? I may be reading you wrong, so feel free to elaborate.

    I'm reading Wakefield's book now "Callous Disregard" and I have to say there's a lot of eye-opening commentary in there... I am happy that he was able to give his side of the story... Unfortunately, Sportsrep, it appears that the book isn't available in the UK, so you may not be able to get your hands on a copy but it's really worth the read... I do wonder why it isn't available in the UK? Any idea? I think that it would be a good idea to get the book out there to the people of the UK who are the ones who have been dealing with this controversy for the longest time.
     
  2. Sportsrep

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    The sequence of events was as follows: Class action lawsuit launched by a group of parents looking for a piece of scientific research which would confirm their belief that there was a link between autism and vaccinations. In February 1996 Wakefield agreed to act as an expert and was in receipt of ?50,000 from the Legal Aid Board, through the claimants solicitor, to pursue the research. ie he wasn?t approached as an independent researcher but as someone who, for a fee, would try to make the claimants case for them.

    In his determination, Wakefield chose to ignore or suppress any findings which did not support the theory he was seeking to prove: the Lancet paper declared that PCR studies were underway to investigate further the possible presence of the measles virus in biopsy specimens of the 12 children in Wakefield?s study. In fact, though, such investigations had already been carried out by biochemist Nicholas Chadwick. Chadwick told a Washington hearing that all the positives he found were false positives and when Wakefield refused to countenance that possibility, Chadwick asked that his name be removed from the published paper.

    Now Chadwick might have been wrong, of course, but Wakefield's reluctance to even consider it makes the assumption that he had a specific agenda a reasonable one.

    You're quite correct, it doesn't. However, at a press conference following the paper's publication Wakefield said that parents should avoid the MMR and instead opt for single vaccines. It was this scaremongering - picked up and exacerbated by the tabloid press coverage ? that caused the problem. On numerous occasions thereafter, Wakefield was afforded the opportunity to back down or revise his opinions, but chose not to.

    Some people might be trying to have it both ways, it is true, but not me because I have never suggested this. Every study I have read about a possible link between diagnoses of autistic spectrum disorders and the uptake of the MMR vaccination appears flawed in some way or other, so I think whichever side of the fence you are on, it's best to be cautious.

    It is now, Sue, it?s available through the UK branch of Amazon. A GMC hearing is quasi-judicial so I imagine the publishers took the prudent view that they could be held in contempt if they published while the hearing was still sub judice (our laws on this are typically more stringent than yours, I believe). I admit I haven't read the book yet, but I have read thousands and thousands of words written by Wakefield over the years ? the idea that he has ever been in any way gagged by the authorities is pure fiction.

    For anyone interested in the GMC hearing, hopefully this link will take you to the full transcript:
    http://www.gmc-uk.org/Wakefield_SPM_and_SANCTION.pdf_32595267.pdf
     
  3. SueM

    SueM Banned

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    Thank you for being honest about that. The Lancet paper DID NOT propose a definitive link (or even probable link) between autism and the mmr... Period. As for the press conference, someone will have to explain to me whether or not it is unethical for a doctor to give his/her opinion and/or tell people what may (or may not) be a better option for them to take in regards to a medical matter such as this. That's what Wakefield did...

    For example, you must know about the controversy between a possible link between brain cancer and cell phones, right? So, hypothetically, let's say there is a doctor who publishes a paper on some findings which indicate something in regards to this topic (although in the study it doesn't mention a definite link...). If that doctor has a press conference and suggests that children under the age of 18 should maybe cut down on their use cell phone use - in his medical opinion - is that scaremongering? Is that unethical? Perhaps my analogy is off... but I see it as similar.

    Picking up on the "scaremongering"... I think that there was already some reason for concern in the UK over the mmr vaccine. Keep in mind, before this episode (with Wakefield), two mmr vaccines had been withdrawn due to safety concerns in the UK. The people of the UK had every reason to be worried about the safety of the mmr vaccine. Especially considering the fact that one of the vaccines that was approved in the UK, had already been taken off the market in Canada for causing meningitis. So, a vaccine was taken off the market in Canada due to it causing meningitis, and then, subsequently was approved in the UK? Really? How pathetic. Never mind the fact that it appears that the UK government may have given the manufacturer a free pass when it came to liability because the mfg had concerns due to the fact that they knew that the vaccine was already taken off the market in Canada... Ah, yes, but Wakefield is bad and evil. ;)

    And, by the way, I don't see why Wakefield should have changed his opinion or backed down if he didn't feel as if he should. I find it so interesting that they were trying to get him to back down about his paper .... The paper which didn't propose a link! Did they want him to back down on his opinion? Who are they, the thought police?



    I think that I was picking up on your comment where you stated that "This would seem to rule out a direct causal link". (see above).
    I agree... let's be cautious. Although, while being cautious, I would like to propose that the so-called experts in the medical field don't try to attempt to tell people that the possibility of autism/vaccines being linked has been "ruled out", etc... Cuz that's just distorting the truth.


    Oh, that's great news! So, as of *today*, can you only buy it on Amazon in the UK or in stores too? I would hope that it is able to be bought by everyone over there considering it gives the whole sordid history of the episode from Wakefield's point of view. Some very interesting tid-bits of information out there that I think that citizens of the UK should know (if they don't already). Has any action been taken in regards to the government officials approving for use an mmr vaccine that had already been withdrawn in Canada? Have those responsible for that move had their medical licenses withdrawn? Just wondering.
     
  4. Sportsrep

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    Is it unethical? Hmm, good question. Personally I would suggest that it was bordering on it because Wakefield would have known the media would pick up on the point he was making - he deliberately chose to outline a personal theory which his own research had not substantiated.

    As far as the GMC hearing (which was concerned with his methodology rather than his results), it constituted a conflict of interests because he was recommending single vaccines (despite a lack of evidence that they were safer) at a time when he himself had a patent pending on a single vaccine.

    It?s definitely unethical not to retract a statement when you cannot provide any evidence to support it. This is precisely why some of the scientists involved in Wakefield's research requested that their names be removed from the paper and/or later retracted their support for the paper.

    I personally didn't see much wrong with the original publication calling for further research and investigation, but in subsequent weeks Wakefield went much further than his own research supported. If this was the fault of the press, as some people have suggested, Wakefield could, at any point, have politely pointed out that his original paper did NOT suggest a direct causal link and anyone suggesting it did was mistaken. He chose not to do this.

    I believe this was more to do with the fact that they contained thiomersal which is, thankfully, finally being phased out.

    Incidentally, the company responsible for publishing Wakefield's book are run by a man who has himself has written books on autism and clearly has a predisposition towards anti-vaccination. That doens't mean his agenda is wrong, of course, but one of the frustrating aspects to this debate is that no one seems to be neutral and assessing things objectively. Everyone seems to bring existing baggage to the table.
     
  5. swellman

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    It's actually a fairly decent analogy - both would be doctors issuing opinions without reasonable evidence.

    I'm struggling on which logical fallacy to assign to this - I'm leaning towards Red Herring. What I find fascinating it that somehow, in your mind, the two are related.

    No, but they are the "Doctor police".

    Thanks for the glimpse into the mind of a true Wakefield believer.
     
  6. SueM

    SueM Banned

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    We know his research didn't *prove* anything and in his paper he fully noted that fact. So, are you saying that (in a press conference type scenario or interviews) that a doctor should not be able to express an opinion or make suggestions (ie recommend the single measles vaccine)? He should have said nothing? That's ok, I suppose... but personally (as a parent), I would rather hear that information and be able to make my own assessment as opposed to leaving it to the government or the pharmaceutical companies telling me what I should/should not do. I appreciate openness in the medical field. Maybe we could agree to disagree on that point.

    I think that I would need a lot more information on this supposed new "vaccine" that supposedly he was coming up with. Apparently, this "vaccine" would not be a competing product whatsoever. In fact, it was to be used in the case where a child could not process the measles vaccine properly and was (from my understanding) was going to be an over-the-counter product. Although, by all means correct me on that.... I'm not there yet in the book.:D Even so, the product (whatever it's purpose) was not available and wasn't even close to being available when Dr. Wakefield made his recommendations. The single vaccine that was available at the time was a regular old pharmaceutical product. Nothing special. I guess your thought would be that Dr. Wakefield would suggest the single vaccine and then a certain amount of time down the road (months, years, decades) he'd have a product to capture the market? Wow. He's awesome. ;)



    Doctors can't have opinions and state them without being unethical? That stinks. I don't understand your other point though... People can't read? Dr. Wakefield has to "politely point out that his original paper did NOT suggest a direct causal link and anyone suggesting it did was mistaken"... People can't read the actual study and realize the same exact thing? How sad for our education system these days. Having said that... I'm sure that Dr. Wakefield did make note of the fact that his study did not PROVE anything... Just a guess though.



    Actually, you are wrong there. It was withdrawn due to the safety concerns about the fact that the vaccine was causing meningitis in children. Again, it was approved in the UK after it was withdrawn in Canada. Sad, really. The mmr vaccine never contained thimerosal.



    Were there other publishing companies willing to publish Wakefield's side of the story? I would imagine (although you may know better than I), Dr. Wakefield likely tried other routes for publication of his story....
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  7. SueM

    SueM Banned

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    Swellman,

    Certainly I could address some points that you make above but frankly it would be a waste of time and I would likely piss some people off. :p So, I will take the high road in response to your low road.

    I'll just leave it at this ... Where's the "Doctor police" when Dr. Offit is allowed to recommend certain vaccines when he will become a multi-millionaire off this recommendation? Where's the "Doctor police" when doctors approve a vaccine for distribution in the UK which was already taken off the market in Canada for safety concerns? Where were they then... Eating bon-bons in a back room somewhere?
     
  8. swellman

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    Certainly you're not hesitant to make me mad, right? You shouldn't.

    Firstly, he only helped develop one vaccine for which he is remunerated, right?

    Secondly, his recommendations are for saving lives not causing deaths, right?

    Thirdly, it's a logical non-issue. Why wouldn't the co-inventor of a life saving vaccine a) recommend it and b) profit from it? What, exactly, do you suggest be done about it? Seriously? If you were the Doctor police what would you do? Take away his license? On what grounds? Make him give back his money? On what grounds?

    Dr. Offit and his vaccine are so completely dissimilar and so completely disassociated from Wakefield that I fail to comprehend why they are brought up?
     
  9. Lisa P.

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    Am I misunderstanding, or is this not circular?

    I understand that Wakefield is being criticized for making a recommendation as a doctor that would lead people to behave in a way which would profit him in a commercial area. That this is, stand alone, a piece of evidence against his credibility.

    So isn't saying Dr. X making a recommendation as a doctor which leads people to behave in a way which commercially benefits him is equivalent to Dr. Y making a recommendation as a doctor which leads people to behave in a way which commercially benefits him legitimate?

    You can't say Dr. X doing it is different, because Dr. X's recommendations are not credible, because Dr. X is the kind of doctor that makes recommendations that financially benefit him.

    You have to accept it as a given from other arguments that Dr. X's recommendations are bad and Dr. Y's are good before the two can be said to be apples and oranges. And not everyone here accepts that, eh?
     
  10. SueM

    SueM Banned

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    You're a piece of work, Swellman.

    Basically, let's sum up your post.

    If you are part of the medical community with all that this entails you are saint-like and nothing that you do can be considered a conflict of interest. Your only goal is to save the children of the earth from deadly diseases (like diarrhea, even if your vaccine contains pig viruses).

    If you go against the medical community in any way shape or form... You need to STFU.

    Got it.
     
  11. swellman

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    I didn't say any of that. I didn't bring up Dr. Offit. What I am trying to say is Dr. Offit's situation is completely different and in no way associated or comparable to Wakesfield. What I am saying is that the comparison is irrelevant.

    So, yes they are apples and oranges.

    For the record, I am in full support for people and organizations who create a product and get paid for it. Doctors are no exception - procedures, drugs, treatments and vaccines - all the time.

    Wakefield was not discredited by nor am I attributing his professional demise to a financial conflict of interest. As far as I'm concerned the circumstances around that are minor in comparison to the rest. I admit people like to use it to pile on. He's being criticized for making recommendations based on an unsubstantiated personal theory. Recommendations that have, without question, led to the decline in vaccinations and resulted in deaths.
     
  12. swellman

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    Is that what you gleaned from that because I'm completely sure I didn't say that? I did say that one is incomparable to the other so how you got that is really confusing.

    Also, I can't tell if this is just a drive by or if you are implying Dr. Offit developed the vaccine with pig virus - which, of course you know he didn't.
     
  13. Lisa P.

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    I think he just plays one on the forum. :rolleyes:

    You know, I personally think that people usually jump off on these issues from personally experiences. You have certain experiences that incline you to certain points of view, and then you tend to back up those experiences with research if you are so inclined.

    Personally, I have had some great doctors, but as an old lady with a diabetic daughter that was first diagnosed as having an ear infection and a best friend who died at 44 from cancer that was diagnosed as a stomach virus, I don't just doubt medical professionals, I come into the room assuming I have to take everything said and look at it myself later. This is nothing against the good doctors out there, it's just an understanding that doctors are just as human as everyone else and if I get my Taco Bell order back wrong every fifth time I shouldn't be surprised if my medical care comes back wrong even more often, since medicine is far more complex than burritos.

    I also have family who have worked in some pretty big systems, government systems, and so I find the idea that government regulators are unbiased and largely faultless to be very, very funny. I have a brother who is an engineer and a sister who is a chemist, and I know that "scientists" are certainly capable of being just as capricious and influenced and corrupted and simply mistaken as any of us.

    So I am inclined to not trust systems, to put my trust in the hands of individuals who have proven themselves to me. I don't feel safe trusting institutions.

    I imagine others have had other experiences. If my daughter, for example, had been properly diagnosed by our wonderful pediatrician immediately (and our pediatrician is wonderful, just human and not omniscient), if my friend had been diagnosed and cured instead of ignored and mistreated, I might consider medical workers miracle workers and find open distrust of them to be opening a dangerous can of worms. In essence, I imagine some folks don't feel safe distrusting institutions or listening to others do so.

    Not to say this in any way affects what is true and what is not, but I think the emotion comes, in part, from that. I know it does on my end.
     
  14. Lisa P.

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    Swellman,

    So I did misunderstand? This is the line I didn't get:

    "Secondly, his recommendations are for saving lives not causing deaths, right?"

    I took a stab at interpreting. Seems to me a drawn conclusion is already embedded in that point of the argument.
     
  15. swellman

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    The "firstly" was a nit.

    The "secondly" was just a tit for tat.

    The last part was the where it was irrelevant.
     
  16. SueM

    SueM Banned

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    It would be nice if you didn't talk in riddles... maybe people could actually understand what you are trying to say.
     
  17. SueM

    SueM Banned

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    Again, if you didn't write in riddles....

    As for the Rotavirus vaccines/pig virus issue... yes, Dr. Offit's Rotavirus vaccine is one of the vaccines which was found to have Pig virus DNA fragments... But no fear, "they" have proclaimed the vaccines safe.... Nothing to see here.... :eek:

    http://www.who.int/immunization_sta...y/PCV1_Q_and_As_rotavirus_vaccines_3Jun10.pdf
     
  18. swellman

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    No, I'm aware that one of the vaccines was the one he helped develop and that it was a contaminant. I was asking you if you thought that somehow he was culpable for its introduction.
     
  19. SueM

    SueM Banned

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    Culpable for the introduction of pig virus in the vaccine? LOL! No, of course not... I do believe that the vaccine should be recalled though... The fact that it hasn't been is fascinating. :)
     
  20. swellman

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    Recalled based on what? The mere fact there's some pig virus parts in the vaccine? Wasn't there a safety study and wasn't it deemed safe? That would include the pig virus parts as well wouldn't it?

    I thought the part quoted below was directed at Dr. Offit. If not then I'm not the only one speaking in riddles. ;)

     

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