[ “credibility”: “the quality of being believed or accepted as true, real, or honest ” – sometimes not deserved!]
[ “gullible”: “easily fooled or cheated; especially : quick to believe something that is not true“. Hence “gullibility” – ? degree of susceptibility to be “taken in” ]
[ “autism”: “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain. The exact causes of these abnormalities are not known“. ]
Abstract: Regarding a subject common to this blog, there exists an immense problem in assessing what we are being told, by experts of different backgrounds and persuasions, and our choices in what we should believe.
Australian top scientist and medical association director, claim that the internet fosters vaccination myths, when in fact what they themselves say about Dr Wakefield and the vaccine – autism link can be shown to be proven myths.
Are we seeing ignorance, or bias, or deliberate misinformation to brainwash the public?
The ramifications of whichever reasons, are of considerable concern to all Australians.
Introduction: Commencing with the experts responsible for the information, the media responsible for publishing, and perhaps the journalists who convey the expert’s information. All surely have some responsibility for providing truthful and relevant information.
Many factors affect the end result, which may, or may not, turn out to be factual and unbiased information.
This post is triggered by an article, in the (Australian), ‘Sunday Herald Sun’. (28 June 2015). Photocopying was not successful so I repeat the contents here:
“Move to educate on vaccination myths” by Jane Hansen.
Health experts have called for a public education campaign to convince parents to immunize their children.
Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, said the education program was needed to counter discredited research that is contributing to parents failing to vaccinate their children and is causing the upsurge of deadly diseases like measles.
Around 39,000, or 2% of Australian parents are permanently resistant to vaccination. But Prof Chubb wants to target the 100,000, or 6%, who are hesitant about vaccination based on suspected side effects the read about on the internet.
“You need to put the facts out there in order to change attitudes, you need a campaign to inform people”, Prof Chubb said. “People my age have stopped smoking because of graphic publicity and education programs”. Prof Chubb pointed to the discredited 1998 Andrew Wakefield (Dr actually, but not mentioned), study that claimed that there was a link between vaccination and autism.
Australian Medical Association president Professor Brian Owler also supports the idea of a public information campaign. Prof Owler said he found it frustrating to have the autism link still perpetuated.
Comments: Not easy knowing the best place to start. The prime issue is strongly connected to current moves to make mass vaccinations mandatory, generally by penalizing those who refuse.
The subject newspaper article stops short of that aspect and aims at convincing the public that vaccinations, (all apparently, and independent of justifiable need), are safe enough and necessary enough to be considered of great importance.
Perhaps we should accept the medical advice offered in the article in good faith, as an attempt to make unnecessary the mandatory demands planned by our esteemed government. At this stage the benefit of the doubt should be in their favour. But, perhaps not!
Why quibble about this authoritarian demand on the public? For a start, the very fact that it is authoritarian makes it an issue. A worn out and practically meaningless term “un-Australian” comes to mind. Certainly not democratic and certainly not a “fair go” or respecting civil liberties.
Then we need to consider the health benefits claimed by the medical Professors which serve to justify mass immunization, then to analyze the potential health hazards from both non-vaccinating and vaccinating.
Last but not least, there is the issue of the reliability of information gleaned from the internet, and the attack made by the Professors on the credibility of internet information.
There are countless sources of information published on the internet which range from anecdotal to fully qualified professional opinion and evidence. Ranging from unscientific claims of little value, to scientific evidence that seems to be ignored or incorrectly disputed by mainstream, which now brings us to the question of the validity of the information offered us by this newspaper article.
“Move to educate on vaccination myths” My question here is, “Who is identifying what is mythical and, is the promotional information itself mythical or factual?
“to convince parents to immunize their children.” Obviously an agenda, but one which should distinctly be in the children’s favour, and not questionable in any way. Otherwise, the education needs to be about the pros and cons of vaccinating, with the advantages of vaccinating being shown to be superior and justified.
“to counter discredited research that is contributing to parents failing to vaccinate their children and is causing the upsurge of deadly diseases like measles.” What about the possibility that both the claims of “discredited research” and “ failing to vaccinate their children and is causing the upsurge of deadly diseases like measles” are false? What if measles, at least in Australia or any other healthy developed country, is not in any relative way, a “deadly disease”?
What if vaccinated children can still catch measles? What if vaccinated people can actually spread measles?
If these questions cannot be answered in the negative, then we have evidence of vaccination myths being promoted by the health experts themselves.
We will come back to that, but other factors also are important. Apparently the current rate of vaccine objectors is of the order of 10%. Why this should unduly worry the authorities is difficult to understand. It is not significantly far from the minimum for their suggested aim of achieving “herd immunity”, another aspect of vaccinating that is not dispute free. It seems likely that they are concerned about the vaccine objectors growing in number and becoming a more powerful influence.
“based on suspected side effects the(sic) read about on the internet.” Here is an interesting statement. It implies that vaccine side-effects are suspected, but not known. It also implies that only the internet provides such ‘unreliable’ information. Well, in reality, side-effects do exist, are listed on the vaccine drug inserts and legally should be made available to all recipients by the person administering the vaccines. Are these side-effects of significance in their severity and frequency? Yes, more of this later but it is most important to know that the adverse reaction incidents are substantially under-reported and mis-diagnosed as well.
“You need to put the facts out there in order to change attitudes,” begs the question of the credibility of these ‘facts’. Well, for a start, the facts about side-effects don’t seem to be of interest in this education scheme. (See later).
“discredited 1998 Andrew Wakefield” Dr Wakefield actually, a Doctor who was discredited many years ago by an unscrupulous medical industry backed journalist, BUT, who has been exonerated since and the attack on him shown to be staged.
Then, the main issue of the autism vaccine link. Not only Dr Wakefield, but other scientists have provided absolute proof of a definite causal link, direct or otherwise, a link appears in vaccine inserts, once “autism”, but nowadays surreptitiously renamed “neurological disorders”.
Both Professors are either in ignorance of these facts or conveniently overlooking, or perhaps lying about them!
The references below provide ample proof of the claims being made here.
So what is a reasonable conclusion? Newspaper readers need to be aware that “what you read in the papers” is not guaranteed to be the truth. In my experience, it rarely is. Medical experts, pharmaceutical companies and governments statements and actions need to be very carefully scrutinized, otherwise you risk a trip “up the garden path”.
Of course, I see this all as an extremely serious situation, as a real threat to our public well-being, in fact, the very opposite of what is presented in this paper article. A serious justification for mistrusting authorities and what you read in the newspapers, and of course, view on TV.
Details and relevant evidence refuting the medical “experts” idea of “facts for the public”.
The Dr Wakefield ‘story’: (Ref #1, #18)
The authors repeat slanders made against Dr. Andrew Wakefield, which were completely false. A recent NOVA special, “Vaccines – Calling the Shots”, repeats these now-disproven slanders, a case of lazy journalism. Recall that Wakefield wrote in the Lancet in 1998 that colitis and autism spectrum disorders are linked to the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine then in use.
Wakefield was denounced as a vaccine denier, although he supported and still supports the single dose measles vaccine, as well as other vaccines. He only opposed the MMR. Multiple vaccines given simultaneously can be more harmful than single vaccines. For questioning the safety of one vaccine, Wakefield was “lynched” by GlaxoSmithCline and the medical establishment. Wakefield’s results have been replicated in at least 28 studies done by scientists in other countries. Further, Wakefield has great insight in how to treat children who have had adverse vaccine reactions by treating the gastro-intestinal disease that accompanies adverse reactions.
Wakefield was expelled from the medical profession in Great Britain, however, John Walker-Smith, one of the co-authors of the offending 1998 study, challenged his expulsion and was recently reinstated, an indication that Wakefield could be reinstated if he applied. Wakefield works in Texas as a researcher and is suing Brian Deer, Fiona Godlee and the British Medical Journal for falsely accusing him of fraud.
The CFR authors also seem to be unaware that Wakefield was further vindicated recently when Dr. William Thompson of the CDC “came out”. Thompson was one of the authors of a CDC study which denied any causal link between vaccines and autism. Thompson admitted that in a 2004 article he and other authors had intentionally excluded already collected data, data which would have reversed their published conclusion that there is no vaccine-autism link. The mainstream media has glossed over the story of Wakefield’s vindication and Thomson’s confession.
Studies related to vaccine autism causal links: (Ref #2,#19)
Many Studies Suggest Possible Vaccine-Autism Links
When the popular press, bloggers and medical pundits uncritically promote a study like The Lewin Group’s, it must confound researchers like Lucija Tomljenovic, Catherine DeSoto, Robert Hitlan, Christopher Shaw, Helen Ratajczak, Boyd Haley, Carolyn Gallagher, Melody Goodman, M.I. Kawashti, O.R. Amin, N.G. Rowehy, T. Minami, Laura Hewitson, Brian Lopresti, Carol Stott, Scott Mason, Jaime Tomko, Bernard Rimland, Woody McGinnis, K. Shandley and D.W. Austin.
They are just a few of the many scientists whose peer-reviewed, published works have found possible links between vaccines and autism. But unlike The Lewin Group’s study, their research has not been endorsed and promoted by the government and, therefore, has not been widely reported in the media. In fact, news reports, blogs and “medical experts” routinely claim no such studies exist.
To be clear: no study to date conclusively proves or disproves a causal link between vaccines and autism and—despite the misreporting—none has claimed to do so. Each typically finds either (a) no association or (b) a possible association on a narrow vaccine-autism question. Taken as a whole, the research on both sides serves as a body of evidence.
The Astroturf Propaganda Campaign
It’s theoretically possible that all of the studies supporting a possible link between vaccines and autism are wrong. And, if the propagandists are to be believed, each of the researchers is an incompetent crank, quack, nut or fraud (and, of course, “anti-vaccine” for daring to dabble in research that attempts to solve the autism puzzle and leads to vaccine safety issues). The scientists and their research are “controversial,” simply because the propagandists declare them to be.
The disparaged scientists include well-published neurologists, pharmacists, epidemiologists, immunologists, PhD’s, chemists and microbiologists from places like Boston Children’s Hospital, Horizon Molecular Medicine at Georgia State University, University of British Columbia, City College of New York, Columbia University, Stony Brook University Medical Center, University of Northern Iowa, University of Michigan, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Al Azhar University of Cairo, Kinki University in Japan, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology in Poland, Department of Child Health Care, Children’s Hospital of Fudan University in China, Utah State University and many more.
Their work is, at best, ignored by the media; at worst, viciously attacked by the predictable flock of self-appointed expert “science” bloggers who often title their blogs with the word “science” or “skeptics” to confer an air of legitimacy.
This astroturf movement, in my opinion, includes but is not limited to: LeftBrainRightBrain, ScienceBlogs, NeuroSkeptic, ScienceBasedMedicine, LizDitz, ScienceBasedMedicine, CrooksandLiars, RespectfulInsolence, HealthNewsReview, SkepticalRaptor, Skepticblog, Skeptics.com, Wired, BrianDeer, SethMnookin, Orac, Every Child by Two, the vaccine industry supported American Academy of Pediatrics, and the government/corporate funded American Council on Science and Health (once called “Voodoo Science, Twisted Consumerism” by the watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest).
This circle operates with the moral support of the vaccine industry and its government partners, citing one another’s flawed critiques as supposed proof that each study has been “debunked,” though the studies continue to appear in peer-reviewed, published journals and in the government’s own National Institutes of Health library.
“Weak,” “too small,” “haphazard,” “not replicated,” “junk science,” “flawed,” “unrelated,” declare the propagandists, without exception. Just as attackers spent years challenging any study that linked tobacco to lung cancer.
They know that reporters who don’t do their homework will conduct an Internet search, run across the blogs with science-y sounding names, and uncritically accept their word as if it’s fact and prevailing thought.
A Small Sampling
Many of the studies have common themes regarding a subset of susceptible children with immunity issues who, when faced with various vaccine challenges, end up with brain damage described as autism.
“Permanent brain damage” is an acknowledged, rare side effect of vaccines; there’s no dispute in that arena. The question is whether the specific form of autism brain injury after vaccination is in any way related to vaccination.
So what are a few of these published studies supporting a possible link between vaccines and autism?
As far back as 1998, a serology study by the College of Pharmacy at University of Michigan supported the hypothesis that an autoimmune response from the live measles virus in MMR vaccine “may play a causal role in autism.” (Nothing to see here, say the critics, that study is old.)
In 2002, a Utah State University study found that “an inappropriate antibody response to MMR [vaccine], specifically the measles component thereof, might be related to pathogenesis of autism.” (“Flawed and non-replicable,” insist the propagandists.)
Also in 2002, the Autism Research Institute in San Diego looked at a combination of vaccine factors. Scientists found the mercury preservative thimerosal used in some vaccines (such as flu shots) could depress a baby’s immunity. That could make him susceptible to chronic measles infection of the gut when he gets MMR vaccine, which contains live measles virus. (The bloggers say it’s an old study, and that other studies contradict it.)
In 2006, a team of microbiologists in Cairo, Egypt concluded, “deficient immune response to measles, mumps and rubella vaccine antigens might be associated with autism, as a leading cause or a resulting event.”
A 2007 study found statistically significant evidence suggesting that boys who got the triple series Hepatitis B vaccine when it contained thimerosal were “more susceptible to developmental disability” than unvaccinated boys.
Similarly, a 5-year study of 79,000 children by the same institution found boys given Hepatitis B vaccine at birth had a three times increased risk for autism than boys vaccinated later or not at all. Nonwhite boys were at greatest risk. (“Weak study,” say the critics.)
A 2009 study in The Journal of Child Neurology found a major flaw in a widely-cited study that claimed no link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism. Their analysis found that “the original p value was in error and that a significant relation does exist between the blood levels of mercury and diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder.”
The researchers noted, “Like the link between aspirin and heart attack, even a small effect can have major health implications. If there is any link between autism and mercury, it is absolutely crucial that the first reports of the question are not falsely stating that no link occurs.”
Absolute proof: (Ref #3)
If that is insufficient to support the claim that the official “NO LINK between VACCINES and AUTISM” is absolutely invalid, please look at this!
Claim of Measles as a “Deadly Disease”: (Ref #4)
Measles vaccines kill more people than measles, CDC data proves
“There have been no measles deaths reported in the U.S. since 2003,” the Associate Press reported based off statements made by Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Meanwhile, VAERS, which captures only a very small percentage of the actual number of injuries and deaths associated with measles vaccines, reports at least 108 deaths associated with measles vaccines since 2003. Of these, a shocking 96 deaths were reported in conjunction with MMR, which is now the preferred vaccine for measles immunization.
Measles deaths were virtually nonexistent prior to introduction of vaccine, which is now triggering outbreaks
Rubbishing the internet as an unreliable information source appears then, to be highly hypocritical of the Australian “experts”. The question is “Are they expert health promoters and guardians, or expert brain-washers? Why do they choose to ignore relevant facts?, or are they so unprofessional as to not educate themselves first, before influencing the general public in such an important health issue? An issue that contradicts democratic principles and civil liberties.
Finally, is there perhaps an underlying agenda that we should be concerned about?
References: (Some General, and some which are referred to specifically, a minuscule sample of useful, genuine information, not to be denied legitimacy by agenda-driven people).
- BMJ admits that fraud claim against Dr. Andrew Wakefield has no basis in fact.
- Vaccines and autism: a new scientific review
- Vaccinations – an Article on ‘Herd Immunity’ – for discussion.
- Vaccines: an ideal covert op to genetically re-engineer humans (Opinion).
Vaccine Associated Narcolepsy Genetically Changing the Brain Forever! Read more at: http://tr.im/ndTTO