Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Skeptify this poll

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 24, 2010

Brother and sisters in, metaphorical, arms: Skeptify this poll.

Do you think vaccines are related to autism?

It’s just too bad they did not have a “Seriously????” option; that’s the one I would’ve gone for, instead I had to settle for the simple No. Go on now my minions, all 4 of you, make your master proud!

Wakefield intends to fight back

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 21, 2010

Although I’m not sure this is the fight he should be getting into!  He claims that the GNC’s conclusions that he acted carelessly were “predetermined” and plans to conduct research to vindicate himself.  Which is all good in my book. We can never really know the determination status of the GNC’s conclusions, and if he does prove scientifically that there is merit to his 1998 Lance retracted paper, than all the better. The point here is not blind adherence to one hypothesis or another, but finding out the truth. So, I say, good luck Andrew Wakefield.

I must say thought that, personally, I tend to be suspicious of someone with such grandiose views of himself. He is, some may say quite expectedly, portraying himself as someone who was sacrificed because he dared to take on the “vaccine industry”.

Andrew Wakefield, the British doctor who came to Austin after fueling a worldwide scare over vaccines and autism, said Wednesday that he expects to have his British medical license yanked next week in a final effort by the mainstream medical establishment to silence him and stop his research.

In his first in-depth interview since the council’s findings, Wakefield — hailed as a hero by some parents and a false prophet by many doctors — said the charges were unfair, false and pre-determined from the outset because he dared to take on the vaccine industry. He said he does not intend to fade away.

He’s got a book coming out soon.

Wakefield’s new book, “Callous Disregard,” will be out Monday, the same day the General Medical Council is scheduled to decide whether to invalidate his license. The book gives Wakefield’s side of the story and lays out what he thinks was behind his prosecution: an effort by the vaccine industry to stop him from probing into vaccines that could be causing harm.

Frankly, I’d rather see him write a book where he defends the science behind his 1998 study, but that’s his call; he can write whatever he wants, but he only diminishes his reputation even further if he refuses to talk science and instead chooses to engage in conspiracy theory stories.

Wakefield contends that he learned from a whistle-blower that Britain had told the medical schools to stop investigating unsafe vaccines and any potential link to autism for fear the government might be sued. The government, in turn, manipulated the media and furthered his prosecution, Wakefield said. The bias, he said, continues with the media giving credence to studies that dispute links between vaccines and autism and discrediting any that suggest an association.

Well I hope he has some proof to back those claims up besides an undisclosed “whistle-blower”. My only question would be this: even if Britain is engaging in this sort of behavior, what about the rest of the world? Where are all these studies that he hints about that suggest a link between vaccines and autism? Why not write a book about these studies I ask instead of getting into this whole conspiracy issue?

Nuttines squared-Homeopathic thimerosal

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on March 18, 2010

Forget that thimerosal has not been shown to cause any diseases (read autism). Forget that homeopathy has never been shown to work under properly controlled scientific conditions and it’s getting its butt kicked in the UK. Nope, none of that matters because, of course, if you dilute it enough something good is bound to come out of it, no? Enter,homeopathic thimersoal, in 30C dilution selling for only $9.95 or $19.95 per bottle! What does it cure? Well, nothing specific apparently (except for the subtle implication that it may help with autism, obviously).

Thimerosal can be used to treat a wide range of diseases, all of which have a unique general pattern of effects upon an individual. Homeopathic medicine seeks to treat the whole person and not just a symptom or two because we are whole beings and not collections of unrelated symptoms.

Well that’s nice isn’t it? A “wide range of diseases” followed by the usual, make-em-feel-precious , standard holistic CAM “treat the whole” nonsense! Wouldn’t you expect the description to be a little more specific though as to what exactly this wide range of disease is comprised of? I mean, will this help with diarrhea, ’cause I smell a lot of BS!

U.S. court rules again against vaccine-autism claims

Posted in News by Skepdude on March 15, 2010

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT YAHOO NEWS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vaccines that contain a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal cannot cause autism on their own, a special U.S. court ruled on Friday, dealing one more blow to parents seeking to blame vaccines for their children’s illness.

The special U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled that vaccines could not have caused the autism of an Oregon boy, William Mead, ending his family’s quest for reimbursement.

“The Meads believe that thimerosal-containing vaccines caused William’s regressive autism. As explained below, the undersigned finds that the Meads have not presented a scientifically sound theory,” Special Master George Hastings, a former tax claims expert at the Department of Justice, wrote in his ruling.

In February 2009, the court ruled against three families who claimed vaccines caused their children’s autism, saying they had been “misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment”.

The families sought payment under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a no-fault system that has a $2.5 billion fund built up from a 75-cent-per-dose tax on vaccines.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT YAHOO NEWS

Skepquote of the day

Posted in Skepquote by Skepdude on March 1, 2010

By offering the vague caveat that “there is no cure” while peddling her Generation Rescue’s slogan “autism is reversible” and telling parents that “for a moderately autistic kid the best prognosis is full recovery,” McCarthy makes a promise that no one on the planet has the authority to make. It’s one that puts the onus of failure on parents whose kids can’t or simply don’t make that “full recovery” and opens up those who take her advice to “try everything” to a buffet of expensive to downright dangerous quackery. Hey cautious party line that she supports a modified vaccination schedule while resolutely insisting on her Web site that “the nurse gave [Evan] the shot … and soon thereafter — boom — the soul’s gone from his eyes” is similarly disingenuous.

Salon.com

Another Study Refutes Vaccination-Autism Link

Posted in News by Skepdude on February 12, 2010

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT YAHOO NEWS

FRIDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) — One more study finds that the measles vaccine — given alone or as part of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine — does not increase the risk of autism in children.

The new findings come about a week after The Lancet retracted a 1998 study suggesting that the MMR vaccine contributes to autism risk. At the time, the Lancet study alarmed many parents and led to major declines in measles and MMR vaccination rates in some places.

In the new study, Polish researchers compared 96 children with autism with 192 children who did not have the disorder, looking for any relationship between measles vaccination and autism.

They found no evidence that children who were vaccinated for measles vaccine — either in a separate shot or as part of the MMR vaccination — were more likely to develop autism. The researchers said they reached their conclusion after adjusting for autism risk factors, including mother’s age and education, length of gestation, medications during pregnancy and the child’s condition after birth.

In fact, vaccinated children were found to be less likely to develop autism, especially those who’d gotten the MMR vaccine, though that finding could be due to other unmeasured factors affecting the children’s health, according to the researchers.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT YAHOO NEWS

Tagged with: , ,

Another study finds no MMR-autism link

Posted in News by Skepdude on January 7, 2010

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT OTTAWACITIZEN

NEW YORK – A new study provides further evidence that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is not associated with an increased risk of autism.

Concerns that the MMR shot could cause autism were first raised a decade ago by British physician Andrew Wakefield, who, based on a study of 12 children, proposed that there was a link between the vaccine and bowel disease and autism.

That research has since been widely discredited, and numerous international studies have failed to find a connection between MMR vaccination and autism.

This latest study included 96 Polish children ages 2 to 15 who had been diagnosed with autism. Researchers compared each child with two healthy children the same age and sex who had been treated by the same doctor.

Some of the children had received the MMR vaccine, while others had not been vaccinated at all or had received a vaccine against measles only.

Poland has been slower to introduce the MMR than other European countries, but over the past decade, the vaccine has slowly been replacing the measles-only shot.

Overall, the study found, children who had received the MMR vaccine actually had a lower risk of autism than their unvaccinated peers. Nor was there any evidence of an increased autism risk with the measles-only vaccine.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT OTTAWACITIZEN

Autism Prevalence

Posted in Neurologica by Skepdude on December 21, 2009

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT NEUROLOGICA

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has published the results of their latest study on the prevalence of autism. There is no question that in the last 20 years the number of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses has increased. What is also clear is that during this time there has been increased surveillance and a broadening of the diagnosis of ASD. Whether or not this accounts for the entire increase in ASD numbers, or if there is a true increase in there as well, is unknown.

Into that context, the CDC adds their most recent numbers, concluding:

In 2006, on average, approximately 1% or one child in every 110 in the 11 ADDM sites was classified as having an ASD (approximate range: 1:80–1:240 children [males: 1:70; females: 1:315]). The average prevalence of ASDs identified among children aged 8 years increased 57% in 10 sites from the 2002 to the 2006 ADDM surveillance year. Although improved ascertainment accounts for some of the prevalence increases documented in the ADDM sites, a true increase in the risk for children to develop ASD symptoms cannot be ruled out. On average, although delays in identification persisted, ASDs were being diagnosed by community professionals at earlier ages in 2006 than in 2002.

That 1 in every 110 children on average now carry an ASD diagnosis is not new news. This CDC data was actually released ahead of publication in October. At the same time a phone survey published in Pediatrics found 110 in 10,000 children carried an ASD diagnosis – or a little more than 1%. This 1% figure seems to be highly replicated – a National Health Services survey released in September also found a prevalence of 1% for ASD in the UK.

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT NEUROLOGICA

Tagged with: ,

Blood mercury levels not higher in autistic kids

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on October 20, 2009

A new study showed that blood mercury levels in children diagnosed as autistic was NOT higher than that of traditionally developing kids, thus putting the definitive nail in the mercury-causes-autism coffin. Somehow I predict that this latest development will not phase the antivax crowd not one bit; they’re already moving away to more generic “toxins” as the scapegoats anyway! Here is the full study if you care to read through it yourself.

I am not familiar with the website and the PDF does not look like a usual study PDF; looks too crude and amateurish so take these results with a grain of salt.

Tagged with: ,

Autism rates back MMR jab safety

Posted in News by Skepdude on September 22, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT BBC NEWS

Latest autism figures should dispel any fears about the MMR jab being linked to the condition, say experts.

The NHS Information Centre found one in every hundred adults living in England has autism, which is identical to the rate in children.

If the vaccine was to blame, autism rates among children should be higher because the MMR has only been available since the early 1990s, the centre says.

This is the first time the rate in adults has been evaluated.

Tim Straughan, chief executive of The NHS Information Centre, said: “This landmark report is the first major study into the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders among adults to be carried out anywhere in the world.

“While the sample size was small and any conclusions need to be tempered with caution, the report suggests that, despite popular perceptions, rates of autism are not increasing, with prevalence among adults in line with that among children.

“It also suggests that, among adults, rates of autism remain broadly constant across age groups.

“The findings do not support suggestions of a link between the MMR vaccine and the development of this condition.”

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT BBC NEWS

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.