AThe the nonsense from the anti-vaccine movement on the issue of Poul Thorenson, the Danish scientist indicted for defrauding the CDC of approximately $1 million in grant money continues apace…
Just yesterday I pointed out how the anti-vaccine loons at Age of Autism were busily trying to poison the well over the Poul Thorsen case, as though whether or not he committed fraud with his CDC grant has anything to do with the quality of the science of the Danish studies that failed to find a link between either the MMR vaccine or thimerosal in vaccines and autism. Being on the mailing list of quite a few pseudoscience, anti-vaccine, alt-med, and other crank organizations (for research purposes, of course), now it’s the Autism Action Network’s (formerly A-CHAMP) turn:
Danish Researcher Indicted on Multiple Counts
Poul Thorsen Claimed Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism
A Danish researcher who was a key figure in two of the earliest studies purporting to show no connection between vaccines and autism, has been indicted by the federal government for a host of crimes related to defrauding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of more than $1 million. These accusations follow tax evasion charges brought by the Danish government against Poul Thorsen who is accused of having forged documents including signatures by CDC officials to obtain funds intended for use in a group of epidemiological studies paid for by the CDC.
Critics of these studies have long contended that highly suspect methods were used to arrive at the conclusion that there was no association between exposure to either thimerosal or the MMR vaccine and autism, even though standard epidemiological methods showed an association.
Reports of the indictment have been met with almost complete indifference by the mainstream media. Our friends at Age of Autism, however, have been closely following the Thorsen story since the first report of his misdeeds was made public by the University of Aarhus in Denmark in 2009.
Please follow this link to the Age of Autism website for the further reporting on the new indictment and links to their reporting on this eye-opening story on the seamy side of medical research.
Notice the clever linking of Thorsen’s indictment for defrauding the federal government of research funds with anti-vaccine crank criticism of the two main Danish studies that provide strong epidemiological evidence that failed to find a link between the MMR vaccine and autism or thimerosal in vaccines and autism. Again, Thorsen’s fraud has no bearing on the scientific validity or methodological soundness of these studies and their conclusions. As I pointed out last time, Thorsen’s fraud didn’t even happen until at least a year after the publication of the thimerosal study. Of course, the anti-vaccine movement truly hates these studies because they do not show what they want them to show. That’s the only reason.
But A-CHAMP is nothing compared to the crazy that our “friends” at AoA bring home. You really should check out the comments after its original blog post on Thorsen yesterday. Get a load, for instance, of commenter Barry:
The more likely scenario is that the CDC no longer has a use for this academic prostitute. When the thimerosal scandal broke, the CDC was facing allegations that were almost too heinous to comprehend. And if those allegations weren’t refuted fast, this issue had the potential to bring the entire medical industry to it’s knees! Fortunes would be lost, careers would end in shame, and some pretty rich people would be facing some pretty real jail time. The CDC was in desperate need of some new “tobacco science”, and Thorson was just the person to provide it.
And I guess the rest is history. Thorson delivered on the CDC’s request, and public fear was once again allayed by an industry funded study that could “find no link”.
Unfortunately, Thorsons “science” was especially bad, and the fraudulent nature of his analysis was immediately apparent once the right people actually took the time to have a look. As word started to spread, the CDC now had a new problem on it’s hands. Thorson’s “science” reeked of a contrived effort to hide the devastating effects of mercury, and ties between Thorson and the CDC were by now well known. The CDC now had to somehow distance itself from Thorson, and the best way to do that was to start a campaign to discredit his character.
It may sound counter intuitive at first, but if you think about it, the CDC’s options were quite limited. They could look like:
a.) an organization that hired a scientist to hide the dangers of Thimerosal, or
b.) an organization that hired a respected scientist to investigate a link between Autism and Thimerosal. While this scientist concluded that “no link could be found”, a retrospective look has astonishingly revealed that his work was poorly done. At no time did the CDC knowingly mislead the public on this issue, because they honestly didn’t realize that they’d hired a criminal to investigate such an important health issue
While neither of these options makes the CDC look good, one looks a whole lot less criminal than the other. And the added bonus is that if this scientist ever decides to implicate YOU, who’s going to believe him??? He’s just a common criminal now.
The contortions of “logic” required to come up with a conspiracy theory like that are truly astounding, even to me, and I’ve been studying anti-vaccine conspiracy theories for nearly a decade now. Think about it. Barry honestly seems to believe that the CDC is both evil enough and stupid enough to have hired a crooked scientist to get the results it supposedly wanted and then to frame him because his results were allegedly so badly done. I have serious problems wrapping my brain around the paranoia that it takes to believe a story like this without even a shred of skepticism.
Then, of course, the anti-vaccine crank group Safeminds had to weigh in with its own press release. Sallie Bernard, unphased by reality and science, stares bravely into the abyss that was once what little credibility she has, and insists that “many biological studies support a link between mercury and autism, but these Danish studies have been used to suppress further research into thimerosal. With clear evidence of Dr. Thorsen’s lack of ethics, it is imperative to reopen this investigation.”
And there you have it, the clearest (and, for all its neuron-apoptosing stupidity) the most honest statement of the intent of the anti-vaccine movement. In essence, all they want is any excuse they can find to try to demand “more studies,” even as the hypothesis that vaccines cause autism continues to pine for the fjords. Like Polly, it is still an ex-hypothesis, while, like Frankenstein, Bernard thinks she can infuse life into the dead, except that using electricity she uses BS. Like a mad reiki master using BS instead of channeling energy from the “universal source” (of BS), she bends the flow of BS to her will.
BS like this:
In addition, internal emails obtained via FOIA document discussion between the Danish researchers and Thornsen which acknowledge that the studies did not include the latest data from 2001 where the incidence and prevalence of autism was declining which would be supportive of a vaccine connection. The emails also include requests from Thornsen to CDC asking that the agency write letters to the journal Pediatrics encouraging them to publish the research after it had been rejected by other journals. A top CDC official complied with the request sending a letter to the editor of the journal supporting the publication of the study which they called a “strong piece of evidence that thimerosal is not linked to autism”.
The latter accusation above is just plain silly, as this link shows. Basically, it’s a letter of support from the CDC for the Danish thimerosal article, and there’s nothing there in any way incriminating. I do find it odd, however, that clearly the second page of the letter is missing, which makes me wonder why that is. The e-mails already say who signed the letter; so I can’t imagine that it’s to protect anyone’s identity, which makes me wonder whether SafeMinds left that page out. As for the e-mails about the data from 2001, it’s impossible to tell exactly what the correspondents are saying. There are only two brief e-mails, and much of them are redacted with black marker, that consist of an exchange between Marlene Lauritsen, who’s second author on the paper, and Kreesten Madsen, the first author. It’s cryptically mentioned that the incidence and prevalence are “still decreasing in 2001,” but the sentence immediately following it is redacted. Most of Madsen’s reply to this e-mail is also redacted.
In other words, it tells us little or nothing. Moreover, the rejection of the hypothesis that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism does not even depend on this study. This study supports rejecting the hypothesis as false, but rejecting that hypothesis as false does not depend on it. In any case, it’s not at all clear what this e-mail means; it reeks of the “climategate” e-mails, which were cherry picked and taken out of context. Like AoA and Generation Rescue, SafeMinds is doing nothing more than using Thorsen’s indictment as an excuse to slime everyone associated with the Danish studies and, of course, the Danish studies themselves. This is then further used as a dubious excuse to cast doubt on the scientific validity of the Danish studies and call for an “independent” investigation.
It’s so transparently cynical that it makes me wonder how anyone can be stupid enough to fall for it
Of all the reactions to the study, though, there is one that made me laugh out loud when I read it. I’m talking about Katie Wright:
Who would make serious health care decisions based upon the work of a thief and a fraud.
Come on CDC, you cannot be serious.
Given that Wright and the many AoA drones, shills, and minions routinely made health care decisions based upon the work of Andrew Wakefield, who, while not a thief, was clearly a scientific fraud, I posit that Wright owes me a new irony meter. She blew mine up again–melted that sucker into a pool of gurgling plastic, rubber, and copper wire so that it’s now sputtering pathetically on my desk. Yet Wright and her fellow travelers defend Wakefield to the death metaphorically speaking while castigating Thorsen before he’s even had his day in court. Double standard? You be the judge.
To a certain extent, I understand the assertion of “once a cheat, always a cheat.” I understand that the lead author (Madsen) and Thorsen’s other co-investigators might now want to check over Thorsen’s contribution to the two papers (as relatively small as it appears to be compared to the other authors), even for the paper whose work was not funded by the CDC at all and therefore has zero financial dependency on the CDC. That’s normal caution. However, normal caution is most definitely not what these attacks by Safeminds and AoA are about. They’re about the denialist technique of spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) about vaccines. Let’s just put it this way. Let’s say the anti-vaccine movement’s wet dream about Thorsen came true and it was somehow discovered that his science was also falsified and that, further, his fraud was enough to call the conclusions of the Danish studies in doubt. Even in that highly unlikely scenario, in which both studies were somehow completely discredited as a result of Thorsen’s financial chicanery with grant funds, it would not be nearly enough for scientists to call into question the scientific consensus that neither the MMR nor thimerosal are associated with an increased risk for autism. The reason is that there’s so much other evidence that is consistent with the Danish studies and similarly shows that neither the MMR nor thimerosal in vaccines is associated with autism.
What AoA, Safeminds, and other denialists refuse to understand is that science is rarely, if ever, a matter of a scientific consensus being based on one study. A scientific consensus is based on examining all the evidence from all relevant studies, deciding which studies are most methodologically powerful, and then synthesizing it all into a conclusion. Meanwhile, studies are are almost always challenged when they come out–by scientists themselves. It’s not the pseudoscientists who test whether a scientific study has come to the conclusion most in line with the evidence; it’s other scientists, and other scientists can be incredibly harsh critics.
Contrast this to how the anti-vaccine movement treats its “brave maverick doctors” like Andrew Wakefield, Mark Geier, Rashid Buttar, et al, and the difference between real science and anti-vaccine pseudoscience couldn’t be clearer.
109 replies on “The use of Poul Thorsen to distract from inconvenient facts about vaccine safety continues apace”
So… am I correct in my assumption that the anti-vaxxers are attesting that because the grant money was illegally obtained, the science is wrong?
“Who would make serious health care decisions based upon the work of a thief and a fraud. ”
People who make serious health care decisions based upon the work of an MTV host and Playboy Playmate.
I just hurt myself laughing at Barry’s conspiracy theory. It’s genius, in its own weird and nutty way.
I can see a PSA based on Wright’s ironic blast:
Narrator talks over a scene of children playing, “A fraudulent work out of Europe has the potential to affect the health and well being of your child. Would you trust a man who took money under false pretenses? Would you trust the work he did?”
Pregnant pause, “Of course you wouldn’t. Stop defending St. Andy and recognize his proven fraud as the basis for poor decisions by millions of parents. Don’t follow their lead. Vaccinate you children for all our sakes but mostly for their sake.”
Fade in an image of a disgraced Wakers at the GMC hearing followed by the images of wheezing, desperate children with whooping cough, followed by grave markers.
Narrator closes with, “Do it for the children.”
(And no, I’ll not be giving up my day job.)
Warning: comment devoid of any serious critical, well, commentary.
Is it just me, or did Barry bring Dara O’Briain’s bit on “balance” to mind?
I suppose if “the incidence and prevalence of autism was [sic] declining” in 2001, the antivaxxers would not be so alarmed today, so it’s rather disingeneous for them to use a proposition that they clearly do not accept to suggest that there’s some vast conspiracy. If they think about it, they might understand that just past the data collection cut-off in 2000 it is logical not all of the individuals who actually have ASD had by that time already been diagnosed, and that that their number would continue to rise over the following years–as it did. I think that the Griers made the same foolish mistake when they wrongly claimed in 2006 that ASD prevalence decreased immediately following removal of thimerosal from the pediatric vaccine schedule.
“all they want is any excuse to demand more studies” but they really should be done over because they were napalm grade A, burning stupid to the point of fraudulent anyways. There, fixed that for ya.
I like to think of it as some kind of cosmic justice that Thorsen’s theft has called attention to the useless studies he was a part of. Yes indeed, sometimes the universe throws one a bone.
Are we supposed to believe that this guy embezzled money yet he was sincerely honest about the studies he did? This isn’t “once a cheat, always a cheat” as you say. It is actually greed and lies. You would rather believe that the pharmaceutical companies pushing these vaccines on your children really care about your child’s health and well being and the money they get from the vaccines are just a bonus?
Can any of you tell me the ingredients in any of the vaccines? Aluminum, formaldehyde, human DNA? http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/B/excipient-table-1.pdf
So if it isn’t vaccines that our hurting our children, what is it?
That bone is your own leg. By ignoring the fact that Thorsen’s alleged crime did not materially affect the science on that study or any of the other studies corroborating it, you just hurt yourself.
Um, an unfortunate genetic disorder, but parents don’t want to hear that and reach desperately for someone distant and alien to blame so they can escape emotional discomfort and uncertainty?
All in very tiny ammounts, demonstrated to be safe at those levels in numerous experiments. Your body makes its own formaldehyde and you take in aluminum atoms every time you eat with a stainless steel spoon.
No, we’re not. He’s a crook. There just isn’t reason to suspect the work of all his law-abiding co-authors or the authors of every other study that didn’t find any link between vaccines and autism.
Ah, hit and run trolls again. I doubt they’ll be back but a quick amateur response:
Jen, enjoy your bone, but you might want to actually look at how much substance it provides.
Shanon, there are lots of people that can tell you all about the ingredients in vaccines. Aluminum salts, for instance, is an adjuvant that makes the vaccine much more effective at much lower dosages. Formaldehyde is used as a preservative and the dosages are far too low to have any effect on a human, considering that the human body is highly capable of metabolizing and dealing with formaldehyde as a consequence of normal cell processes.
However, can you explain why you ask about human DNA? You appear to have just enough understanding of the issue and I’d like to know for sure if you have the capability of understanding even the basics.
If we want “to understand the causes of things”** we need go way beyond our own distorting lenses- they act like the prisms used in experiments on adaption in visual perception: they change what you “see”- as well as the “psychological realities” ( or naive theories of causation) that interfere with our continuoulsy evolving comprehension. Science peers into the mechanisms of those lenses and theories and ameliorates their influences- the human influence- as much as is humanly possible.
Because I review pseudo-science I sometimes feel that I’m really looking at lenses, prisms, semantically-based free association, and experiments in creative writing.
** stolen from the LSE- they won’t mind- they do it in Latin, I don’t.
OMG!!!! HUMAN DNA!!!! THE SAME STUFF MY NUCLEII ARE FULL OF!!!
Shannon and Jen, what about the other more than two dozen studies that show no correlation between vaccines and autism?
Shannon, how to you keep the aluminum salts out of a kid’s skinned knee? Do you make sure that absolutely all of the soil your child comes into contact with is free of feldspars? Do you do you also make sure all of the food you eat is hydroponically grown as to avoid any soil containing feldspars? Do you wear masks all the time to avoid breathing in any dust with feldspars?
(Guess what the most common metal is in this planet’s crust, often in the most common mineral in soil?)
@ Chris: interestingly enough, on Monday’s edition of Woo radio, the Struck-off one himself was ragging on about the use of alum. in placebos in vax trials as being bad science.
T. Bruce McNeely, you never fail to make me laugh. 🙂
Wakers wouldn’t know bad science if it bit him in the butt. Oh, wait, it did!
Shanon: you and your co-ideologues seem to believe Wakefield’s sincerity despite the fact he was found guilty of scientific fraud & misconduct by the agency in the UK that adjudicates such matters…
@ MikeMa- I know : why do you think I *phrased* it that way?
I just like repeating it for the slow trolls.
Shanon said: “You would rather believe that the pharmaceutical companies pushing these vaccines on your children really care about your child’s health and well being and the money they get from the vaccines”
Yes, I think they care about children’s health and making money. Of course the profits aren’t much on most vaccines, which is why the number of pharmaceutical companies manufacturing them has dwindled to a few, resulting in occasional shortages like the one that severely affected flu vaccine supplies a few years ago.
I’m fine with people making money by doing really good things, like for instance Dr. Paul Offit being well-compensated for developing a life-saving rotavirus vaccine. As for those who make money scaring parents away from vaccines and selling useless autism treatments, that’s despicable.
As you recall, Wakefield had three separate meetings with Somali parents in Minneapolis to discuss his latest “theory” of high rates of autism in the Somali population.
The MMWR April 8, 2011 issue has a report from the Minneapolis Minnesota Department of Health which identifies a 23 month old Somali child as the “index” case that resulted in 14 additional epidemiologically-linked cases of Measles in Minneapolis. Nice job Andy!
“Notes from the Field: Measles Outbreak…Hennepin County, Minnesota, February—March 2011”
(Where are you Chris…to do the link for me?)
It never fails to amuse me how clucks like Ms. Shanon rail against big pharma for alleged pushing vaccines for huge profits. The fact that big pharma makes very little profit from vaccines, and would make far more manufacturing the drugs to combat the ills that vaccines prevent, is ignored.
By the way, the smear campaigns against Dr. Offit et al are of a piece with the smear campaigns against Michael Mann, James Hanson, and Phil Jones on the subject of global warming. This despite the fact that those individuals could make a lot more money shilling for the Koch brothers.
Creamy style Desitin (the one in the light blue container)
Come on, punk. Prove me wrong, or shut up.
lilady, here you go:
I needed to be away from laptop, which will occur again as soon as I finish eating.
Orac says, “Just yesterday I pointed out how the anti-vaccine loons at Age of Autism were busily trying to poison the well over the Poul Thorsen case”
JohnV croons, “People who make serious health care decisions based upon the work of an MTV host and Playboy Playmate.”
I’ll be billing you, JohnV, for the case of irony meters you caused to go into nuclear meltdown.
Oh wait…I keep forgetting. Such imposture from you people isn’t considered duplicitous.
Buncha frikkin’ hypocrites, the lot of you.
lilady, the CDC called.
There is massive OUTBREAK of measles in a developed country. 6 total CASES! They need 900 million people vaccinated in a multinational effort. This could go global real fast with modern air travel. They need you and your expertise(they said something about grassroots, in the trenches, and all of the seminars you had attended) to spearhead a taxpayer funded multimillion dollar PR campaign complete with your own tour bus. (You even get a siren and a megaphone.)
Can you do it?
If you can’t then they’re going to ask Chris because of her NASA experience. They need to move “rocket” fast to strike while the iron is still hot.
Hold on… There has been an outbreak of influenza like illness at a nursing home. They’re going to have to double the funding. Are you still in?
Salt Lake City is in the final weeks of a small measles outbreak. 400 people die per day, mostly children, from a completely unnecessary illness. Why does augustine hate children?
That’s no small measles out break! That’s about how many died in the ENTIRE U.S. before vaccines. That’s a lot of malnourished Mormons.
Boring troll – you do realize that measles is one of those diseases we could eradicate entirely, since it has no animal reservoir?
@What a Bunch of Morons
Does Ms. McCarthy have some background in medicine/science that we’re unaware of? Note: claiming her child is the next stage of human evolution does not count. Er wait, she changed her mind and he’s a drug company casualty.
[400 measles deaths per day is] about how many died in the ENTIRE U.S. before vaccines.
Wow, what marvel of medical science that was introduced at the same time as the measles vaccine took us from 400 deaths per day to 6 (non-fatal) cases per (something longer than a day)?
Augie, you sure do like to complain about other people’s experience considering that you have none whatsoever.
So, Dr. Thorsen is accused (not convicted) of income tax evasion and defrauding the CDC. These are serious charges and – if proven – would call into question his ethical standing on other matters. In fact, I would go so far as to say that, if he is convicted, any studies that rely on data that he alone provided should be reviewed for possible flaws, that’s how seriously I view this (alleged) ethical lapse.
On the other hand, Dr. Thorsen hasn’t even been tried, let alone convicted, so it might be a wee bit premature to claim that he is “a crook”. And considering that these are the same folks who were so adamant that Andy Wakefield not be “tried in the press” (and are largely the same folks who have called Dr. Wakefield’s verdict and punishment a “witch-hunt”), it seems more than a bit hypocritical.
But what’s new about that?
So, on the one hand we have the spectacle of Dr. Wakefield, lead author of the “landmark” study claiming a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism and contributing author to most of the published studies claiming to show a connection between autism and the MMR vaccine, who was found to have committed unethical behaviors and who was struck off the medical register as a result but is viewed by the folks at Autism Action Network (AAN) as a hero. This despite the fact that he violated ethical rules and tried to hide real conflicts of interest and fatal flaws (or, if you like, deliberate fraud) in his research. This, apparently, has nothing to do with the validity of that research, which is accepted as fixed dogma at AAN.
Contrast this to Dr. Thorsen, who was a “sandwich author” (i.e. minor contributor, often a courtesy given to someone who made helpful suggestions) of two of the many studies showing no connection between autism and vaccines who is accused (not yet convicted) of tax evasion and improper use of federal grant money.
Yet, AAN sees Dr. Thorsen’s indictment as sufficient cause to put the whole mass of literature showing no connection between vaccines and autism in question, despite the fact he was a minor contributor in two studies and the numerous independent researchers who have found the same results.
There’s a verse about “straining gnats while swallowing camels” that comes to mind.
That quotation from the Brandeis student newspaper lays it out clearly: thirty people applauded Wakefield–but how many would applaud Thorsen?
Since the cause of ASD, at least at AoA, will apparently be decided by popular opinion rather than by the evidence, it seems the case is closed.
Actually (if true) they should be worried, this is a huge nail in the coffin of their pharma-shill gambit: HE WAS NOT PAID OFF! He stole the money!
This proves he had no financial incentive to lie and promote vaccines.
Take that, anti vaccine propagandists!
They’ll probably just claim that he was so evil that what bigpharma paid him was not enough and he tried to steal even more.
@Plutosdad: Actually, the crack investigative reporters at AoA had just found evidence of his payoff. The CDC decided to pretend the money was stolen. This wasn’t very hard since there was no legitimate way for him to explain the money. It’s actually a common technique: the bribes are recorded in a way that implicates the bribe taker, ensuring they can never come clean.
Have any of the anti-vax blogs taken the time to analyze the papers that he co-authored, to determine how much influence he had and which data he contributed? From what I have read so far, the a priori bias is very clear: a researcher commits financial fraud and this makes every paper that agrees with him suspect!
I’m bot a biologist so I can’t truly peer review the science involved. What I can do is scan for logical fallacies, falsehoods and irrationality. I see that in abundance on the anti-vax side.
Not only was he not being paid (enough?) by Big Pharma but where is this supposed world-wide conspiracy of doctors, researchers, and Big Pharma reps covering this up? Why has this been made public? This is what cracks me up about the loons. Their crazy little world views make no sense and often contradict themselves.
This wasn’t very hard since there was no legitimate way for him to explain the money.Thanks
“Troll sat alone on his heap of stone
And he munched and mumbled a bare old bone.”
I dunno, even the “not a thief” part is debatable. One of the charges against Wakefield that was found proved was that he and his conspirators took money from the Legal Aid Board that was supposedly for the testing and care of the Lancet children, and since those costs were actually already covered by the NHS, spent the money elsewhere. There’s not so great a difference between Wakefield’s financial fraud and the one that Thorsen is accused of that St. Andy’s defenders can afford to be hypocrites (WWST*).
* Which Won’t Stop Them.
I’ve only ever seen studies on Thimerasol/MMR & autsim but never on vaccines & autism
I’ve only ever seen studies on Thimerasol/MMR & autsim but never on vaccines & autism
Babs, in case you are not moving goalposts, try this list:
Neuropsychological Performance 10 years after Immunization in Infancy with Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
Authors: Tozzi AE, Bisiacchi P, Tarantino V, De Mei B, D’Elia L, Chiarotti F, Salmaso S.
Source: Pediatrics, February 2009, Vol. 123(2):475-82
Immunizations and Autism: A Review of the Literature.
Doja A, Roberts W.
Can J Neurol Sci. 2006; 33(4):341-6
Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.
Ray P, Hayward J, Michelson D, Lewis E, Schwalbe J, Black S, Shinefield H, Marcy M, Huff K, Ward J, Mullooly J, Chen R, Davis R; Vaccine Safety Datalink Group.
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.
Pediatrics. 2010 Jun;125(6):1134-41. Epub 2010 May 24.
On-time vaccine receipt in the first year does not adversely affect neuropsychological outcomes.
Smith MJ, Woods CR.
Is MMR a vaccine?
How are children exposed to thimerosal, aside from vaccines?
Would you consider autism a neurophysological outcome?
“If you can’t trust the integrity of the researcher, you can’t trust the research,” Dr. Max Wiznitzer
Pretty much sums it up for me regarding Thorsen.
That article is about Wakefield, not Thorsen.
So what about the other studies that were listed here?
Babs, you might also look for papers like this (also check out the related citations listed to the right of the page).
That’s why it’s ironic. It applies to Paul Thorsen.
What even more funny is that the speaker is a medical autism expert who is lambasting Wakefield but thinks his study was about thimerosol.
“Many of us used it, but we didn’t develop autism,” Wiznitzer said.
And then a nurse says:
“There’s such limited resources for autistic kids here,”
I guess she’s never heard of Paul Thorsen.
Ouch indeed! I’m sure that embarrassing error was due to the journalist writing the article conflating MMR and thimerosal, not Dr. Wiznitzer. I hope so anyway! Well spotted Augustine (credit where credit’s due).
I also hope the authors of the papers Thorsen contributed to will make a statement about precisely what contribution he made, and if it could affect the findings, however unlikely that may be. There has been quite enough speculation about all this.
One reason why you should not trust news articles written by most journalists. Dr. Witzinger would not make such a grievous error.
Still, the point stands: it was not about Thorsen, but about Wakefield being a fraud.
Also, there are plenty of papers that support the Madsen studies, where there are none that support Wakefield.
The ironic thing about the attempt to present Thorsen as a falsifier of data and results rather than a prosaic embezzler is that they are ignoring the extent to which Thorsen can be said to have ACTED like a criminal. Specifically, he appears to have avoided drawing undo attention to himself. No press conferences, no spearheading activism, not even high ranking in the coauthor list. I have long judged this to make him look far more promising as a suspect. But it also makes him look like nothing more or less than a canny and cautious thief.
It seems like when the subject comes around to Poul Thorsen, the standard that many people who “question” vaccines suddenly want to be the operating standard is falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus – false in one thing means false in everything. If Thorsen mishandled grant money (something many of our commenters seem to forget has only been alleged so far, not proven) then it must mean all of “his” studies are untrustworthy.
Let’s ignore for the moment the fact that “his” studies are not really his studies. Let’s ignore the fact that the allegations of Thorsen misappropriating funds might turn out to be just as false as the allegations of his “disappearance” turned out to be. Let’s pretend for a second that falsum in omnibus is not a fallacious principle. Let’s pretend that all studies touched by Thorsen in the slightest measure have to be discounted, and the scientific issue of whether vaccines contribute to autism has to be judged without reference to any of those studies.
If we do this, we still come out with no credible scientific studies indicating that vaccines contribute to autism.
Contrast that to Andrew Wakefield. If we’re going to discount any study touched by Poul Thorsen because he allegedly mishandled grant money, we definitely have to discount any study by a man who manipulated and misrepresented the data of the study. What do we get when we judge the issue without reference to any of Wakefield’s studies?
The answer should be clear from the fact that so many studies are described as “replicating Wakefield’s results” (even if they actually contradict Wakefield’s results, or are not actually studies but poster presentations or news articles, etc.) Wakefield’s studies were the major tentpole of the anti-vax crusade and when it became clear that those studies were rigged, the tent started coming down. It’s silly enough for the faithful of the anti-vax congregation to pretend that Thorsen’s misdeeds, even should they be proven, materially change the state of the evidence. It crosses the border to pathetic when they try to except St. Andy from judgment by the same standard.
” Let’s ignore the fact that the allegations of Thorsen misappropriating funds might turn out to be just as false as the allegations of his “disappearance” turned out to be.”
AoA certainly shot themselves in the foot publicizing that rumor. Reposting a badly-written document that was obviously either forged or never intended to see the light of day as a public “release” by Aarhus University didn’t help. But, at this point, there doesn’t seem to be any cause for serious doubt about the charges. And, as I concluded very early on, even if Thorsen had no part in the fraud, his position was too high not to bear some measure of blame. That is the conundrum that Thorsen’s superiors will face once the ungly details are drawn out.
Alison â Thank you SO MUCH for making me aware izmir of this need in putting a DVD together. You are absolutely right; we need to make sure that we make the program accessible to everyone izmir . I truly appreciate your feedback. â Katie
My sister has a three month old and she’s anti-vaccine. This child hasn’t had a single vaccine and she has no intention of taking him to get any. She’s also found the quackiest physician in LA who’s anti-vaccine. She lists all her press appearances (Dr. Oz) and her homeopathic training but not where she went to medical school or residency. I just hang my head and hope that nothing happens to my nephew.
Don’t worry. I think the same thing when someone says they are going to vaccinate to the gills. But I know that they’ll attribute any problem to genetics. Because vaccines are as perfect as apple pie.
I feel sorry for you, being unable to talk some sense into your sister. Hopefully, your nephew will be able to get by.
And please ignore the hypocrite troll augie, who claims to be a christian but yet wishes harm on others and isn’t above denigrating others at a whim’s notice just because noone here follows his/her/its extremely narrow world view.
Please give evidence as you clutch your pearls. So we can see you deceitfulness, Novalox.
Since you mention it, do yo believe in god, novalox? I would love to know. For scientific purposes only, of course.
Are you going to answer my question in the other thread, auggie?
Oh, and I believe in God, although I don’t know what it has to do with anything on this blog.
Oh, you should’ve never mentioned that, dedicated lurker. You are now the metaphysical enemy of sciencebloggers all over the world.
If you don’t understand that then it’s really sad for someone who thinks they are so smart. You do think you are a smart person don’t you?
Do you understand what logical congruency is?
The atheist on science blogs do . You apparently are the sucker.
You do think you are a smart person don’t you?
Actually, no I don’t think I’m particularly smart, auggie. Slightly less than average, maybe.
Believing in God has nothing to do with medicine. God might have given me life, but if I sit in the middle of the road a truck will probably run over me.
Science based scientists, do you agree? Do you think his beliefs are congruent with the evidence? Is there a god, based on the science based medicine evidence?
They probably don’t want to make this argument because they are chicken shit and need all the friends they can get. But they are privately laughing at you.
More hypocrisy from you, augie? Not surprising at all.
Why should I even bother answering a question from you, hypocrite, when you won’t even answer a simple question about your education that other posters have asked of you, (and, as I may note, have given you their education).
I’ll be waiting for a honest answer, but I expect more of your usual double-talk and outright ad hominems.
Is there a god, based on the science based medicine evidence?
It’s not relevant to the concept at all.
Nice how you assume I’m a he, though.
Well, you have some epistemology problems. Your atheists friends will agree.
You don’t have the slightest clue about philosophy do you, dear?
Do you believe in a completely quantitative world?
Do you believe in a completely quantitative world?
What is quantitative about the world is measured by science. What is not is the domain of philosophy and theology. The two cannot be mixed.
I take it you believe in a god also. More dual mindedness from you also?
This is easier than i thought.
Still won’t answer the question about your education? Typical of you and your double-speak, hypocrite.
Exactly what I thought, novalox. So on you belief about your god, do you believe in Yeshua(Jesus)? Is YHWH your god? Or is some greek version of YHWH your god? Do you believe in multiple gods or the gods of the greeks? I’m curious. I’d like to dig into the mind of a science blogger and see how they think. What makes them tick.
Shifting the goalposts again, I see.
Still waiting for your answer to the question…
You disappointment, Nova. I thought you were one of the smart ones on here. The goal posts remain solid. I thought you knew what that meant. Another one bites the dust.
So on you belief about your god, do you believe in Yeshua(Jesus)? Is YHWH your god? Or is some greek version of YHWH your god? Do you believe in multiple gods or the gods of the greeks? I’m curious. I’d like to dig into the mind of a science blogger and see how they think.
This could be amusing. Let’s set out the table, Augustine: What instantiation of the Tetragrammaton do you claim to represent?
Being delusional again, I see. What a laugh.
Since you haven’t answered the question about your education first posed to you a while back, why should I bother answering your unrelated questions.
Guess it’s time to killfile the troll.
It’s not the platonistic version, oh wise one. So do you believe in god? Any god? Or do you exist out of your own imagination?
It’s not the platonistic version, oh wise one.
That’s not very specific.
Novalox the disappointment
Great, and the more necromancing I can do to your precious ideology without your hypocritical interference. See you on the backside since I don’t believe this is the last I’ll see of you.
If it’s going to be a waiting game, I have 50 quatloos on poorly constructed syncretic animism.
You’ll be waiting for a while, I’m afraid.
I see you haven’t gone. Will you be worshipping the goddess of fertility this sunday? Or will you be worshiping the god of science?
Thoroughly Greek aren’t you my dear? But I digress. The elite sciencebloggers disagree with your immature presumptions. You’re out of your league here.
Awww, you thought you were a friend of the blog didn’t you?
I check in just before I go to bed (actually long after I should be asleep) and I see this:
“God might have given me life”… and them much off topic commentary follows. First “which god? and the what does that have to do with Thorsen?
Then I ask: why is anyone responding to the augustine troll?
Ignore the prepubescent troll!
Has anyone read the entire study? (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa021134) To make it clear: I am pro-science and hence pro-vaccine, and have no reason to discredit the study based on what Thorsen has or hasn’t done later. But I am curious about the following: the authors state that “The children were assigned to the nonvaccinated group until they received the MMR vaccine”. This sounds fine – until they continue with Table 2, which presents the number of autism cases based on (vaccinated/unvaccinated) person years. Doesn’t this introduce some sort of bias? I mean that part of the person years will, by definition, be unvaccinated and autism free as there won’t likely be a diagnosis of autism before the first MMR shot anyway? The way I read it all children contribute with unvaccinated/autism free person years to the unvaccinated group, no matter if they are diagnosed with autism or not later on. I might be wrong here, though – might have misunderstood, and statistics isn’t exactly my speciality…. Would be very grateful for insightful comments, though!
Chris, I was trying to make a joke about SBM and religious belief being not exclusionary, but I think it flew over st. troll’s head.
Sorry, I missed it. And I should have been fast asleep at that hour.
If Thorsen is capable, and guilty of defrauding the CDC, then what makes you think he isn’t capable of taking money from the pharmaceutical industry or others interested in a specific outcome?
First, there’s no evidence for that. Second, there’s no indication that he had sufficient influence over the studies to have done anything of the sort. Third, they’ll likely go ahead and check anyway.
@ Stuart Ezrin: If you read the study, you would realize that the CDC funded the study because the Danes have a computerized registry of each child’s immunization records.
Are you inferring that the nurses and doctors who immunized children and entered the data were also in on the conspiracy? Perhaps you think that statisticians on the study were complicit as well, or that the six other researchers put their reputations on the line for financial gain?
I see that you are a chiropractor and we would be interested in how you counsel your patients regarding childhood vaccines.
You would rather believe that the pharmaceutical companies pushing these vaccines on your children really care about your child’s health and well being and the money they get from the vaccines are just a bonus?
However, can you explain why you ask about human DNA? You appear to have just enough understanding of the issue and I’d like to know for sure if you have the capability of understanding even the basics.
It’s silly enough for the faithful of the anti-vax congregation to pretend that Thorsen’s misdeeds, even should they be proven, materially change the state of the evidence. It crosses the border to pathetic when they try to except St. Andy from judgment by the same standard.
What, say it ain’t so Doc.
Please don’t tell me those evil parents of autistic children who question what ingredients are injected into children are now using your tactics?
Let’s go over this AGAIN: Thorsen is NOT accused of defrauding the CDC. He is accused of defrauding Aarhus University, using forged documents purported to come from the CDC. Actually, it would appear that, if the CDC had accepted the forgeries at face value (not inconceivable in a very large bureaucracy), the fraud might never have been recognized.
If pharmaceutical companies were run by human beings like you and me, with husbands, wives, children, grandchildren and other loved ones who are vaccinated I might believe that. I might even think that they would be highly motivated to be sure their products are as safe as possible.
Any scare about product safety means a drop in share prices, gives an advantage to the competition or worse. Pulling the plug on Vioxx, for example, cost Merck about $2.5 billion – their share prices plummeted by 26% in one day.
The vast majority of responders here need to get the vaccination insert that is provided to us physicians, with all the “untested” and “unknown” revelations. The one for Merck’s MMR is a great substitute for your favorite Saturday night horror film. There is a reason that vaccine companies blackmailed the U.S. gov’t into covering for vaccine litigation.
Research necessarily involves statistics and the layman is no match for the magic that is unfurled when statistics are manipulated for grant money or by pharmaceutical companies.
Remember that the New England Journal of Medicine finally began accepting for publication various “research” articles based on “studies” underwritten by pharmaceutical companies, because of the diminishing submissions of research studies funded by (relatively) unbiased sources.
Lest we forget, “The love of money…. ”
One must give pause when the AAP actually defends the virtues of aluminum and thimerosal (along with the link to the use of aborted fetal tissue) on its vaccination page. The future income of pediatricians depends on a solid belief in their vaccination schedule, which has increased from under a dozen doses 50 years ago (in single dose vials which did not require all of today’s additives) to the schedule today…. over 200 doses (an MMR is counted as three) by age 14. Check out their high praise for vaccine ingredients:
How about a simple study… the number of school days missed due to illness, vaccinated U.S. children vs. unvaccinated U.S. children.
Modern sanitation (clean water and proper waste disposal) as well as proper nutrition–fresh, unprocessed foods, beginning with the mother from the moment of conception–are the keys to health, not vaccination. The attempt at prevention of childhood diseases is a very different goal from that of promoting health. It hinders immune system development and over-stimulates. Even the tetanus vaccine (often considered one of the safer, justifiable) causes a reversal of the proper ratio of helper Ts to killer Ts for 14 days.
OMG…she’s BAAAAACCCKKKK! Dawn, where have you been? Gee, for a long time I wasn’t ashamed to share that name.
How about proof that anything IN vaccines causes problems. And most vaccines 40-50 years ago were in multi-dose vials. I well recall the refrigerator in my grandfather’s office filled with multi-dose vaccine vials, all dated with when they were opened.
As has been often asked of you: citation needed of your claims.
Got the slightest bit of evidence to back up ANY of your claims, Dawn?
Um, sanitation doesn’t do squat to combat measles, pertussis and other respiratory illnesses. As far diet preventing infection? Citation needed.
Oh, and the whole idea of vaccines being profitable for physicians? Citation needed.
Quick question, Dawn: which costs more, treating a case of pertussis or preventing a case of pertussis?
And again, about vaccines hindering the development of the immune system? Citation needed.
You are not a physician. I believe we established before you became one of the few banned here. The inserts are lawyer written “cover-your-ass” bits that claim stuff that may have been reported. Nothing else.
You need to keep up, a study like that was covered here a few weeks ago. It was done in Germany, and they found that the only difference between the two groups were that the kids who were not vaccinated had more vaccine preventable diseases like measles and pertussis.
You refer to the AoA people as crazies and whatever else. I guess everyone’s entitled to their opinion. As for me? I get a kick out of coming on this site and reading how uneducated your readers are. Triskelethecat, as to your question “How about proof that anything IN vaccines causes problems.” Duhhhh….why don’t you visit the VAERS website. Let me know if you need the link. Duhhhh.
BeBe, your ignorance is showing.
VAERS is a reporting system. It holds reports. One researcher, to show how weak it was, reported that a vaccine turned his child into the Incredible Hulk. It was accepted. VAERS is regarded as a starting point, not a be-all and end-all.
Could you point me to that VAERS ID. I was unable to locate it on the VAERS database using the terms “Incredible Hulk”
Julian, you are correct. In my haste, I was showing my ignorance. I actually meant the US Court of Federal Claims. Of course, the big decision that first comes to my mind is the Poling decision. I’m sure you’re familiar with it. It’s incredulous there are those who believe vaccines can’t injure.
It’s been said many times around here that vaccines can cause injuries – but far fewer or less severe than the actual disease would.
BeBe, the court system is not where scientific consensus is decided. The Poling case is one special case, and her condition is genetic. She would have also suffered a similar fate with a fever from a disease.
Could you point me to that VAERS ID. I was unable to locate it on the VAERS database using the terms “Incredible Hulk”
Do try to pay attention, Augustine.