In the wake of Wakefield

Colin and I were just interviewed on BBC Radio 4 for a commemoration of sorts. It’s been 20 years since Andrew Wakefield published his infamous paper, “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in childrenalleging an MMR vaccine/colitis/autism link. This paper was retracted after Brian Deer’s and the Lancet’s investigations revealed:

-severe undisclosed conflicts of interest,

-unethical treatment of the children in the study, and

-fraudulent manipulation of data in the study.

However, the damage was done. Vaccination rates dropped not only in the UK, but in the US and worldwide. Outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases resulted. Although Wakefield denies any part of this, his role is undeniable…especially since his advocacy against vaccinations continues to this present day.

Yesterday BBC Radio 4 aired an hour long program that explored “the continuing legacy of the anti-vaccine movement on the anniversary of one of its most notorious episodes, and explore its impact on health, on research and on culture both at home and abroad.”

The indefatigable science journalist Adam Rutherford explored the history of Wakefield’s attempts to promote the link between vaccines and adverse health effects on the program, interspersing clips of Wakefield speaking in the media with interviews by journalist Brian Deer and public health officials. In the last third of the program, he interviewed both Colin and myself about the ongoing consequences of Wakefield’s advocacy here in the United States. We discussed how Wakefield has tapped into the world of conspiracy theories and a larger movement of distrust of expertise and institutions to promote his ideas (it didn’t make the final cut in the program, but as one example Colin wrote extensively about hearing Wakefield speak on the Conspira-Sea Cruise). We talked about communication with vaccine-hesitant parents and how empathy and good scientific information spread through networks of family, friends, and community leaders can overcome fearmongering. We discussed how being new parents affects our experiences as science communicators, particularly in the realm of vaccine issues. We also spoke about our experiences going to see Andrew Wakefield’s documentary Vaxxed, and how the movie (and the anti-vaccine movement in general) spreads false, damaging, and hurtful rhetoric about persons with autism. (To the ASAN members who were protesting at the movie, I hope you get a chance to listen to this! We talked about how shamefully you were treated in response to your excellent outreach efforts).

Many thanks to Adam and Graihagh Jackson for having us on. I think it’s a fitting commemoration of a shameful incident in the history of medicine, and I hope it helps at least a little bit to push back against the harmful and wrong ideas being spread by Wakefield.

Jenny and Colin BBC
selfie from the NPR studio where we recorded.


67 thoughts on “In the wake of Wakefield

  1. Suki49 February 18, 2018 / 5:24 pm

    The truth can be found at this site. I hope you don’t censor it, as is usually the case:

    Parent of Two Children in Dr. Andrew Wakefield Lancet ……

    • Vince February 18, 2018 / 6:00 pm

      Not the truth, just a wackjob who get’s off on the death of innocent children. Follow the real scientific evidence and leave other peoples children alone, you idiot.

      • Suki49 February 20, 2018 / 1:40 am

        And yet more, if there’s anyone outside your little circle jerk who might be curious as to the real facts.
        Dr. Wakefield Proven Right ….. Again – Vaccine Common Sense

        • Vince February 20, 2018 / 6:09 pm

          Links to retracted papers and opinion pieces aren’t evidence. If Andrew Wakefield is such a wonderful person, why was he struck off the British Medical Register. And don’t give me that conspiracy crap, the only way to get struck off by this independent body is to have been proven to cause deaths or serious misconduct. I think that if your arguments were valid, you wouldn’t have to resort to insults so much. Evidence like today vaccine preventable deaths have fallen by 99% since 1932 according to the Australian Government Department of Health:
          Immunization currently averts an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year. An additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided, however, if global vaccination coverage improves according to The United Nations World Health Organisation:
          These sources have a lot more credibility than healthimpactnews or vaccinecommonsense.

          • Suki49 February 20, 2018 / 8:37 pm

            I’m sure you know about the coalition of corporations (including pharma/petro/agribusiness) machinations behind alteration and destruction of key evidence, to protect the status quo in the highly profitable industry you are representing, in tandem with producing a plethora of propaganda sites.

            My first introduction to it was before Internet, being handed a book that had to be re-published by the author because the first edition of it, by a major publisher, was pulled out of bookstores as soon as it arrived (and the first notices were sent out) and made to completely ‘disappear.’ That’s just the tip of the iceberg, as you well know.

            But I mention it only in case some sincerely interested and investigating citizen managed to stumble across your self-congratulatory blog, and might be motivated to see past the long-standing pile of manure, and dig for the truth.

    • Dorit Rubinstein Reiss February 18, 2018 / 7:44 pm

      It’s sad that some of the parents of the mistreated children are still under Wakefield’s charm. It’s not a good counter to the documented wrongdoing by him, though.

  2. David Colquhoun February 18, 2018 / 6:04 pm

    It was a terrific broadcast. Both your contribution and Colin’s were brilliant. You have both done a lot to spread sense in the USA. I’m glad Wakefield has fled the UK (sorry, Texas).

    • Jennifer Raff February 18, 2018 / 6:51 pm

      Thank you! Adam is really good at interviewing. Thanks for listening 🙂

  3. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss February 18, 2018 / 7:46 pm

    I am very much looking forward to watching this. Thank you for reporting on it and for participating!

  4. Suki49 February 19, 2018 / 1:13 am

    Hope all you poison peddling shills have a great time patting yourselves and each other on the back (and on the way to the bank). There will be a time of reckoning. I’ve requested a front row seat.

    • Dorit Rubinstein Reiss February 19, 2018 / 9:11 am

      Most people do understand the difference between vaccines and poison. Nor do people need to be shills to speak up for preventing diseases.

      As much as some in the anti-vaccine movement would like to imagine that correcting anti-vaccine misinformation is a crime, it’s not.

      • Suki49 February 19, 2018 / 9:48 am

        As stated before… you are shills. I know you’re not as clueless as the people you mislead. But you ARE stupid, and that will all come out when your reign of deliberate disinformation is over.

        • Jennifer Raff February 19, 2018 / 9:56 am

          Suki, I can assure you that I don’t get paid by the pharma companies for anything I do. If you are going to keep calling me a ‘shill’ and accusing me of profiting off of this blog, please provide some evidence.

          • Suki49 February 19, 2018 / 9:59 am

            Only two choices for you, brainwashed or shill.

            • Jennifer Raff February 19, 2018 / 10:00 am

              Why is it that I can’t be simply a concerned mother and scientist who is speaking her mind on her blog?

              • Suki49 February 19, 2018 / 10:05 am

                Because the steadfast denials of the obvious truths would eliminate that option.

                • Jennifer Raff February 19, 2018 / 10:08 am

                  I don’t know what to tell you except that you’re wrong. Again, if you’re going to keep calling me a shill, please show the evidence that I’m getting paid for my activities. You can’t because I’m not. I’m exactly who I say I am.

                • Dorit Rubinstein Reiss February 19, 2018 / 10:12 am

                  A line of thought that goes “if you don’t agree with my beliefs you must be brainwashed or paid” is not particularly convincing.

                  Even less when said beliefs are against an international consensus drawing on decades of studies.

                  • Suki49 February 19, 2018 / 10:23 am

                    Yeah, decades of “studies’ from the foxes who are guarding their trillion-dollar hen houses. But I know that you folks are just preaching to the choir, so I’ll leave you to your incestuous glad handing. I have more important places to attend for countering corporate ‘persuasions.’

                    • Jennifer Raff February 19, 2018 / 10:24 am

                      Where is your evidence that I work for a corporation Suki? I’m guessing that since you’re flouncing off, you weren’t able to find any. (Because it doesn’t exist).

                    • Suki49 February 19, 2018 / 10:29 am

                      I don’t need to dig into your background, hire a private detective, etc. Some things just become obvious with repeated exposure and experience. So, do have fun patting each other on the back. As I stated before, more important places to spend my time.

                    • Jennifer Raff February 19, 2018 / 10:31 am

                      So you have no evidence, in other words. You’re just making up stories. Please stop name calling until you find evidence to support your allegations.

                    • Dorit Rubinstein Reiss February 19, 2018 / 10:34 am

                      If your claim is that all vaccines studies are industry funded or done, that’s just incorrect, as anyone looking at the studies can see. They come from many sources with various sources of funding. To remind you, many come from countries with national health insurance, where the interest is to reduce health costs – which vaccines do, by keeping people healthy.

                    • Dorit Rubinstein Reiss February 19, 2018 / 10:35 am

                      I would add that the speaker can certainly make shill claims without providing any evidence, and stating openly she has none. Readers can consider this acknowledged lack of evidence when assessing her credibility.

                    • Vince February 20, 2018 / 12:04 am

                      Yeah, decades of studies from independent research organisations such as Universities, Hospitals, and private research facilities in many different countries and the only voice of scientific contention is the vile and discredited Andrew Wakefield. Seeing as scientists can make their name just as well from debunking bad studies and they can from creating them as proven through history, how can this be? But, of course you are trying to shill for your books, aren’t you? If children have to die, so what. As long as you make a buck.

                    • Suki49 February 20, 2018 / 1:43 am

                      Informed Choice Washington
                      December 31, 2017 ·
                      The Science of the Dtap/Tdap/aP Vaccine:
                      Dtap/TDap/aP is not a live vaccine, but has been shown by the FDA to cause the vaccinated to become asymptomatic carriers whenever exposed to the bacteria for both pertussis and diphtheria, thus spreading the illnesses without knowing. The Dtap/TDap/aP vaccine is top two behind the flu shot for adverse reactions recorded (VAERS database).
                      Pertussis carrier:…/…/PressAnnouncements/ucm376937.htm
                      Diphtheria carrier:
                      Pertussis epidemic despite high levels of vaccination coverage with acellular pertussis vaccine.
                      “Further, we show that aP vaccination impedes host immunity against B. parapertussis-measured as reduced lung inflammatory and neutrophil responses. Thus, we conclude that aP vaccination interferes with the optimal clearance of B. parapertussis and enhances the performance of this pathogen. Our data raise the possibility that widespread aP vaccination can create hosts more susceptible to B. parapertussis infection.”
                      “Our unvaccinated and under-vaccinated population did not appear to contribute significantly to the increased rate of clinical pertussis. Surprisingly, the highest incidence of disease was among previously vaccinated children in the eight to twelve year age group.”
                      Vaccinations create more powerful and virulent strains of bacteria and viruses. The reason for the current whooping cough outbreak. Read more here from the CDC”Vaccination against 2 avian viruses, the Marek disease virus, and the infectious bursal disease virus, were associated with the emergence of more virulent strains (33). An important role of host immunity in selecting for virulence is also suggested by the co-evolution of the myxomatosis virus and rabbits (34). Furthermore, immune pressure was shown to select for more virulent Plasmodium chabaudi parasites in mice (35). Based on mathematical modeling, vaccines designed to reduce pathogen growth rate and/or toxicity may result in the evolution of pathogens with higher levels of virulence.
                      “After the fifth dose of DTaP, the odds of acquiring pertussis increased by an average of 42% per year.”
                      This study shows that efficacy of the DTaP falls rapidly. At 2 years post-vaccination, it’s just 75%. By 5 years, it’s down to 11.9%.
                      Pertussis 53 – 64% effective in adolescents and adults:
                      -the pertussis vaccine doesn’t work, and any immunity from it wanes
                      Importantly, we demonstrate that acellular vaccine antigen-encoding genes are evolving at higher rates than other surface protein-encoding genes. This was true even prior to the introduction of pertussis vaccines but has become more pronounced since the introduction of the current acellular vaccines. The fast evolution of vaccine antigen-encoding genes has serious consequences for the ability of current vaccines to continue to control pertussis.

                  • Dorit Rubinstein Reiss February 20, 2018 / 12:21 pm

                    There are two different things here. First, it’s true that the acellular pertussis vaccine is not as effective as we like. We need a better pertussis vaccine. That said, it’s a lot more effective than non-vaccination, reduces risk of disease and reduces outbreaks (this link contains studies on other things, too, but it’s easier to give this one link which has the relevant studies than post multiples).

                    Click to access p2069.pdf

                    The other thing is the question of carriers. While there is limited evidence showing that those vaccinated can carry the disease – a baboon study, and one or two small study – there is no evidence that vaccinating increases transmission – in fact, the evidence is that vaccinating reduces transmission:



                    So vaccinating is how to minimize the disease and keep us safe. Specifically, for newborns, vaccinating the mom in pregnancy is the best protection.

                    • Suki49 February 20, 2018 / 8:55 pm

                      Vaccinating pregnant mothers, and vaccinating newborns, is the best way, as you know, to disguise vaccine damage. If there is no period of time before the child is vaccinated, where the parents can identify what a healthy baby is, compared to after vaccination, then the parents have no contrast, like the many who have taken a previously healthy baby in for shots, and seen a distinct difference, from minutes after the shots, to days, or weeks. And then there is the long-term damage.

    • Chris February 19, 2018 / 10:37 pm

      I am intrigued by this “shill” argument. We could accuse you of being a shill for “Big Hospital Supply” or even for “Cute Kid Coffins.” Though in reality you are bringing up an economic argument. Prior to 1963 almost every child in the United States of America got measles by the time they were fifteen years old. That is how infectious the virus is.

      Unfortunately the surveillance system was not as robust as it is now. Seriously there was no internet! Plus there were no faxes, and long distance phone calls were expensive. Do I need to tell you that there were no smartphones? So lots of kids got sick, several were permanently disabled and many died.

      What you need to do is to explain why it is economically better to go back to an era where every kid got measles. And why we should let so many get hospitalized, and some actually die:
      J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S69-77.
      Acute measles mortality in the United States, 1987-2002.

      What you need to do is come up with a verifiable economic report to counter this study:
      J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S131-45.
      An economic analysis of the current universal 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella vaccination program in the United States.

      Seriously, explain to us with actual verifiable scientific evidence that it is better for kids to get sick with measles, mumps and rubella (the latter being being a known cause of autism as part of Congenital Rubella Syndrome) then preventing it with the MMR vaccine introduced in the USA in 1978. Here is another study you should ponder:
      Science. 2015 May 8;348(6235):694-9. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa3662.
      Long-term measles-induced immunomodulation increases overall childhood infectious disease mortality

      With that information, I am really thinking you are shilling for “Cute Kid Coffins.”

  5. Sanqiang Zhang February 19, 2018 / 1:59 am

    The irony of the histrionics coming from Sue Marston (“Suki49”) is that Ms. Marston is herself profiteering from anti-vaccine pseudo-science. She’s been writing books and giving talks on this subject since at least 1993. For amusement, you can look up her crackpot ideas about smallpox and polio. For reviews of the Web site she promoted in her first comment above, see:

    • Suki49 February 19, 2018 / 3:10 am

      How interesting that you should bring that up, Sanqiang. I was giving away copies of that book away for free, much to the chagrin of one of the publishers. If you can find any evidence that I profited from it, be my guest, because there is none.

      • Jimmy Jibson February 19, 2018 / 8:45 am

        You don’t sound like a nutjob at all.

        • Suki49 February 19, 2018 / 9:51 am

          To profiteers, those who just want the truth out there, and not interested in profits, would definitely sound like nut jobs.

          • Vince February 19, 2018 / 7:47 pm

            Why are you so afraid of an alternative to your point of view that you descend to ad hominem and non-sequitur attacks. Do you have any real evidence to back up your claims?

          • Chris February 19, 2018 / 10:41 pm

            Prove you are not shilling for “Cute Kid Coffins.” Give us the verifiable economic analysis that shows it would be cheaper to let every kid get measles.

            • Suki49 February 20, 2018 / 1:26 am

              I had the measles. My parents, and grandparents, siblings ( & cousins, aunts and uncles, and our friends) all had the measles, as kids. Since this was before the deadly MMR vaccine was unleashed, I’m sure all or most of the kids in my local schools had it. Kids in my neighborhood had it. Nobody died, and now we are immune for life.

              The vast majority of any measles deaths reported, since the time this country’s living conditions improved dramatically, are either from Third World countries, and/or have a link to the vaccine. The following article contains stat showing the decline in mortality in this country before introduction of the shots.

              Measles vaccines kill more than measles – WND

              Now, you have to know all of this, but you don’t tell it. Even your “official sources,” which include agencies that hold vaccine patents, but present themselves as independent of any corporate influence, are lying to the public. It’s all built on lies, and you know it.

              When the measles vaccine was first released, it was touted to give the same lifetime immunity as getting the measles. When that DIDN’T HAPPEN, and lots of vaccinated kids came down with measles after having been vaccinated, that is when the call for “boosters,” came about. And when the infection gets delayed until adulthood, it can then become a more serious version, called “atypical measles, which is more serious, and deadly.

              Delayed diagnosis in atypical measles syndrome (PDF ……
              Full-text (PDF) | Delayed diagnosis in atypical measles syndrome

              And then there is the aftermath, the “adverse events.” In my own family, those have been particularly devastating. My sister did not vaccinate her two kids, and they are fine, now in their early 30’s. My brother’s kids, in the same age range, were vaccinated (because his wife believed the propaganda) up until their toddler developed R.A., and then my brother decided to consult my book, where he found that a substantial percentage of children (as high as 26%) developed arthritis and arthralgia after receiving rubella vaccinations in national testing programs. His two youngest also have numerous life-threatening food allergies, and one was recently hospitalized for ongoing serious intestinal inflammation issues.

              Vaccines Cause Allergies – Dr. Dave Mihalovic | The Refusers

              FDA Notes Baby Vaccine Bowel Problems

              Of course, the medical mafia sources (and their bought media) rush to hide or “debunk” all information that casts any shade on their vaccines, and that’s why it’s important for people to exercise and use their brains, and not just swallow what is continually spoon fed to them.

              And then, it got worse. My brother cut himself. (He lived over 200 miles away from me, so we did not have as frequent contact as we’d had before he moved away for his job.) He thought that if he went for a tetanus shot, it would not be the same as getting a vaccination. He actually requested that the pertussis and diphtheria components not be included, and I’m sure they said “oh yes,” to him, and “whatever, yadda yadda yadda” to themselves. Personally, I would not take even a tetanus shot by itself, but that’s another lengthy subject. The fact is, he no doubt received the TDap (this was in 2009). Within days, he felt weak, within weeks, it was worse. Within months he was diagnosed with ALS. He is now deceased, after suffering immeasurably for 2 1/2 years.

              [2009 sept] Aluminum in vaccination-associated cognitive decline, motor neuron disease, autism—Teresa Binstock
              [2009 Oct] 2 ALS Cases May Be Linked to Gardasil Vaccine
              [2009 june] Letter: Can Flu Vaccine Trigger ALS?
              -[Media 3/2006 Aluminium adjuvant] Vaccines show sinister side
              The Medical Time Bomb of Immunisation Against Disease by Dr Robert Mendelsohn MD
              Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld says vaccines cause auto-immunity …

              Vaccine Induced Mitochondrial Disease – Dr. Sircus

              “Besides diseases of an acute nature, chronic degenerative diseases have also been reported to follow vaccination. Stovieck (1959), Paffy and Merei (1961), McAlpine (1964), and numerous German authors described the occurrence of multiple sclerosis following the administration of vaccines against smallpox, typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, tetanus, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis and influenza. and after injection of antidiphtheria serum and gamma globulins. Zintchenko (1965) reported twelve patients in whom
              M.S. first became evident after a course of antirabies vaccinations.”
              Henry Miller, M.D. , et al, BMJ, Vol.2, No. 5546, Apr. 1967, p. 211

              And, vaccines, being what they are, are poison for all species, causing autoimmune disease in them, too (besides the cancer, seizures, allergies, etc.)

              The Purdue Vaccination Studies And Auto-Antibodies – Dogs …

              From my hard copy of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1984 (H.R. 5810), admitted adverse effects from the diptheria, pertussis, tetanus vaccine includes SIDS, which is also found on published vaccine package inserts.

              So, it would be much more likely you and your cohorts who are making a little on the side from Cute Kid Coffins, and all other kinds, as well.

              • Dorit Rubinstein Reiss February 20, 2018 / 12:26 pm

                A quick look at Europe would show you that the claim that measles cannot kill is simply untrue. I am glad you survived – of course, those that did not would not be here to post. But the belief that before the vaccine there were no deaths from measles in the U.S. is simply untrue. Here is a referenced discussion of death rates from measles.

                I have seen no evidence of a single death caused by MMR in the past decade in the U.S.. VAERS reports are not evidence. If you have evidence, post it.

                While chronic conditions can certainly happen after vaccines – after all, vaccines don’t prevent ALS, MS, etc’, and enough people are vaccinated that coincidences of timing are inevitable – there is no evidence that vaccines cause them, and it’s biologically implausible. In other words, although we can all feel for those who suffer from MS and ALS and other conditions, there is no good basis for blaming vaccines for them.

                Here is a discussion of the actual risks from vaccines. Note that serious harms are rare.


                • Suki49 February 20, 2018 / 9:50 pm

                  I don’t expect the truth from you, but anyone who is interested can, indeed, look at the association between auto-immune diseases and vaccinations, at the links provided, something I was learning about even more than 30 years ago, but quite a bit more has been coming out about it lately.

              • Chris February 20, 2018 / 3:47 pm

                I am missing your logic, Suki. So because you had measles and lots of people had measles… that means it is safer than the vaccine? Even though before the vaccine hundreds of American kids died from measles, and thousand more were permanently disabled.

                That simply does not make sense. You must be a shill for either Big Hospital Supply.

                • Suki49 February 20, 2018 / 9:47 pm

                  Read the whole thing, including the links. But I know your job is to pick something out and wrap a lie or a big twist around it.

                  • Chris February 21, 2018 / 1:24 am

                    The links are to unreliable sources. Please just stick to PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers. Anyone whose legal right to practice medicine by misconduct is not reputable.

            • Chris February 20, 2018 / 3:42 pm

              “I had the measles.”

              So how did that turn out for Olivia Dahl? Go get the book her dad wrote that is dedicated to her memory, The BFG. Now read it to a child and explain why her name is at the front of the book.

              Since you decided to not provide the proper verified economic analysis because Wing Nut Daily is not a reputable scientific/economics publication They don’t understand why there are so few deaths from measles. It is because we prevent the disease with vaccinations!

              You are obviously a shill for Cute Kid Coffins.

      • Jennifer Raff February 19, 2018 / 10:40 am

        “If you can find any evidence that I profited from it, be my guest, because there is none.”

        But you just said that you don’t need evidence to declare us “shills”, because you just know we are! That’s an interesting and telling double standard.

        Quit calling us ‘profiteers’ and ‘shills’ unless you have evidence to show that we’re paid by anyone.

  6. Suki49 February 20, 2018 / 9:20 pm

    The Great VAXXED Debate | Medical Veritas Inc.
    A key example is Colin McRoberts, … all infectious disease agents and agencies fall under Central Intelligence Agency … The Great VAXXED Debate.

    • Colin February 20, 2018 / 9:48 pm

      There must be a law of nature that says one can’t write about conspiracy theories without eventually being called a CIA plant.

      • Suki49 February 20, 2018 / 9:59 pm

        Dr. Arnold Relman, Harvard professor and former editor of the New England
        Journal of Medicine:
        “The medical profession is being bought by the
        pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also
        in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are
        allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I
        think it’s disgraceful.” http://icfda.drugawareness….

        Dr. Marcia Angell, former Editor of NEJM:
        “It is simply no longer possible to
        believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the
        judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no
        pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two
        decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine…No one knows the
        total amount provided by drug companies to physicians, but I estimate from the
        annual reports of the top 9 U.S.-based drug companies that it comes to tens of
        billions of dollars a year in North America alone. By such means, the
        pharmaceutical industry has gained enormous control over how doctors evaluate
        and use its own products. Its extensive ties to physicians, particularly senior
        faculty at prestigious medical schools, affect the results of research, the way
        medicine is practiced, and even the definition of what constitutes a disease.”

        The Dawn of McScience, Dr. Richard Horton, former Editor in Chief of the
        ”Even scientific journals, supposedly the neutral arbiters of quality by
        virtue of their much-vaunted process of critical peer review, are owned by
        publishers and scientific societies that derive and demand huge earnings from
        advertising by drug companies and from the sale of commercially valuable
        content. The pressure on editors to adopt positions that favor these industries
        is yet another example of the bias that has infiltrated academic exchange. As
        editor of The Lancet I have attended medical conferences at which I have been
        urged to publish more favorable views of the pharmaceutical industry.”

        Nobel Prize winning scientist Sydney Brenner:
        ” I think peer review is hindering science. In fact, I think it has
        become a completely corrupt system. It’s corrupt in many ways, in that
        scientists and academics have handed over to the editors of these journals the
        ability to make judgment on science and scientists…And that’s all been done in the aid of commerce, because they are now giant organisations making money out of it.”

        • Colin February 21, 2018 / 2:06 am

          Were you feeling silly about the CIA thing, so decided to copy and paste some random other stuff to dilute the conversation?

          • Suki49 February 21, 2018 / 2:58 am

            You’re the one diluting the conversation, bringing up the CIA in the first place. So, go ahead and feel silly about it. You should.

            • Colin February 21, 2018 / 7:43 am

              Suki, scroll up. Not far, just a few comments. Do you see where you pasted some crap about the CIA? Now scroll back down to the comment right above this one, where you’re complaining that I brought up the CIA for some reason.

              Do you see why you give people the impression that you’re a ranting troll?

              • Suki49 February 21, 2018 / 8:08 am

                You mean, ” all infectious disease agents and agencies fall under Central Intelligence Agency”? That is, by far, not the main focus of the article at all, although it is true:

                CIA World Factbook – Major Infectious Diseases –

                But good move, trying to gloss over not only the major points of the article, but those quotes about pharmaceutical industry taking over the medical journals and buying everybody off.

                • Colin February 22, 2018 / 3:49 pm

                  You seem to be pasting in random links you have saved somewhere, because that one doesn’t go anywhere relevant. Do you actually believe that “all infectious disease agents and agencies fall under the Central Intelligence Agency”?

                  Suki, do you believe everything you read on conspiracy theory blogs?

                  • Suki49 February 22, 2018 / 8:37 pm

                    CIA pages appear to confirm that it is very much involved.

                    The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency
                    These challenges are international in scope and are priorities for the Central Intelligence Agency. … MAJOR INFECTIOUS DISEASES … vectorborne disease: malaria …

                    CIA Report : Global Infectious Disease Threat

                    I know that you folks like to comb through and find a word here and there that you can try to twist and make an issue out of. Very deflective, but I’m way passed having gotten used to it.

                  • Chris February 23, 2018 / 1:00 pm

                    Click on that link and you get:

                    CIA Site Redirect
           has changed its Web address . . .

                    Here is a novel idea, Sue: check the link before posting it.

                    Also, the CIA World Factbook is just an example of type of intelligence gathering done by the the Central Intelligence Agency. It is just a compilation of publicly available data from around the planet. They do not generate the data, they just gather it up and compile into a user-friendly database:

  7. Suki49 February 20, 2018 / 9:28 pm

    Excerpts from an article by Dr. Leonard Horowitz and Sherri Kane (which also states: “Colin McRobert’s wife, Jennifer Raff, who shares a blog with McRoberts called “Violent Metaphors,” a curious name signifying aggression but promoting mandatory vaccination”)

    Kenneth “Colin” McRoberts is a paid professional propagandist and native Texan who studied Russian in St. Petersburg, Russia, before settling in Chicago and taking on assignments for the SAB Group, including pharmaceutical companies Pfizer; Sanofi-Aventis; Allergan, and Forest Labs.

    McRoberts is a graduate of Harvard Law School, and a consultant and trainer with The SAB Group. A commercial litigator by training, he claims his area of expertise is “negotiations.”

    But the facts tell a different story. By “negotiations,” the unscrupulous lawyer means deceptions. He acted as the senior adviser directing a cell of pro-vaccine propagandists blogging for passage of California bill SB277, the controversial mandatory vaccination bill vacating philosophical exemptions to forced intoxications. We call such bloggers “PharmaTrolls.” McRoberts’ cell published to combat enemies of the vaccination industry. Their success, coupled with political payoffs called “campaign contributions,” voided previously legislated religious and philosophical exemptions to the risky, sometimes deadly, medical (mal)practice.

    But McRoberts et. al., needed a “poster boy” for discrediting a growing number of suspicious investigators, and an avalanche of damaged consumers. Together with McRoberts’ paid co-conspirators in vaccination genocide, Wakefield was targeted and libeled to divert from growing threats of investigations, criticism, public health damages, and industry-wide liability.

    • Colin February 20, 2018 / 9:52 pm

      I would love to take credit for SB277! It was an excellent step forwards in public health, and a great example of the public taking responsibility for children’s health. Unfortunately I had nothing to do with it.

      Horowitz has a lot to say about us because we poked a little fun at his magic potion business, and criticized him for selling miracle cure water to desperate cancer victims.

      I have a hard time taking anti-vaxers seriously when they align themselves with malicious, ranting fraudsters.

      • Suki49 February 20, 2018 / 10:03 pm

        And so it goes. You will keep pointing the finger back at those who know your game.

        • Colin February 21, 2018 / 2:04 am

          Is it your belief that Horowitz does not sell magic cure-all potions to cancer patients, or that his magic cure-all potions actually do cure cancer with the power of liquidized sound frequencies?

          • Chris February 21, 2018 / 3:26 am

            “power of liquidized sound frequencies”

            As a former aerospace engineer specializing in random vibration: WTF?

            • Colin February 21, 2018 / 7:47 am

              Yeah, 429 Hz I think. The frequency of love, they say. (They are very, very angry people, but they talk about love a lot.) Somehow the silver “nanoparticles” absorb the frequency or something, and the solution cures whatever ails you. I watched them hawk this garbage to desperate, scared cancer patients.

  8. Chris February 21, 2018 / 1:21 am

    That was great to listen to, which by coincidence was while I was on my way to the library and then to a local skeptics meeting (the speaker was by an oceanographer studying climate change in the Arctic Ocean, so I got kudos along with a couple others for not driving to the meetup).

    I cringed every time Wakefield spoke. He just drips swarm.

    Also, thank you for mentioning how the autistic protesters were treated at the VAXXED showing. It truly shows how much disrespect they have to our beloved children. My oldest is one of the nicest sweetest persons on this planet. He had gall bladder surgery this past summer, and during the recovery he always said “please” when he requested more jello, and thanked the nurses for their help. While the young man has his challenges, he is very polite. (Autism Level 2, needs some supports, as diagnosed under DSM V).

    For lurkers I would like to provide a link to real research on the genetics of autism. It is something I would love to join, but since he is an adult and we are not legal guardians he has to do the questionnaire. Yeah, it is not going to happen. I suspect it is a de novo mutation since he has a genetic heart disorder and his looks are so different from his siblings:

    • Chris February 21, 2018 / 1:56 am

      “not driving to the meetup”

      Clarify: I took public buses. Mostly because it had snowed at higher than freezing point during the day, but wet streets tend to turn into ice rinks after dark, plus I am older so have a wee bit of night blindness.

      Plus I would rather listen to spoken word than concentrate on driving. Plus I live in a city with a decent bus system, I might as well use it!

  9. Sanqiang Zhang February 23, 2018 / 2:32 am

    In addition to the research on the importance of measles vaccination cited by Chris:

    Hinman, A.R., Gindler, J., Tinker, S., Markowitz, L., Atkinson,
    W., Dales, L. and Papania, M., 2004. Acute measles mortality in
    the United States, 1987–2002. The Journal of infectious diseases,
    189(Supplement_1), pp.S69-S77.

    Click to access 189-Supplement_1-S69.pdf

    Mina, M.J., Metcalf, C.J.E., de Swart, R.L., Osterhaus, A.D.M.E. and
    Grenfell, B.T., 2015. Long-term measles-induced immunomodulation
    increases overall childhood infectious disease mortality. Science,
    348(6235), pp.694-699.

    I should like to call attention to a publication of the World Health

    Wolfson, L., Global reductions in measles mortality 2000–2008 and the
    risk of measles resurgence.

    Click to access WER_article_on_measles_mortality_2000_2008.pdf

    Their estimate is that worldwide during the period from 2000 to 2008 approximately 12.7 million measles deaths have been prevented by immunization.

  10. Sanqiang Zhang February 24, 2018 / 2:44 am

    To any laymen reading this blog, I recommend the short article “Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science” by the physicist Bob Park, available here:

    Click to access park-seven-signs.pdf

    (I understand Professor Raff has written a book called “Handbook on Science Literacy,” which may touch on the same issues. I haven’t had the chance to read it myself as yet, so can’t comment. Sorry!)

    To the scientists here, may I offer a thought about communication with the general public? I think it’s probably counterintiutive to the layman that the way actual scientists refute pseudo-science is NOT by simply identifying conflicts of interest among its perpetrators. (I say this is counterintuitive because it is a legitimate concern when a politician receives funding from a particular group and then votes to promote that group’s interests, as, for example, in the case of Orrin Hatch, who had extensive financial ties to vitamin and supplement companies and sponsored the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, shielding dietary supplements from FDA oversight.)

    As an example of how scientists DO refute pseudo-science, one might consider this paper: Arjó, G., Portero, M., Piñol, C., Viñas, J., Matias-Guiu, X., Capell, T., Bartholomaeus, A., Parrott, W. and Christou, P., 2013. Plurality of opinion, scientific discourse and pseudoscience: an in depth analysis of the Séralini et al. study claiming that Roundup Ready corn or the herbicide Roundup cause cancer in rats. Transgenic research, 22(2), pp.255-267. Available here:

    Click to access Arjo-et-al-TRAG-2013.pdf

    The authors do not, for example, point out that Gilles-Eric Séralini published a book promoting homeopathy and therefore he must be a shill for the snake-oil industry, and everything he writes is garbage. Rather, in a section titled “Critical deficiencies in the Séralini article,” they explain at length the serious statistical and other errors in Séralini’s retracted paper.

    So maybe it’s valuable to educate the public about what a legitimate rejoinder to peer-reviewed work actually looks like.

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