Antivaccine nonsense Complementary and alternative medicine Quackery

Here we go again: The vile tactic of blaming shaken baby syndrome on vaccines

About ten or twelve years ago, back when I was in essence, a newly minted skeptic and public supporter of science-based medicine, I was so naive. There I was, having just discovered the Usenet newsgroup and confronting the original wretched hive of scum, quackery, and pseudoscience, and I thought I had seen everything. Yes, I realize these days that, even a decade on I haven’t seen everything and will never see everything, but back then I couldn’t believe that, having learned for the first time about coffee enemas, various forms of cancer quackery, each seemingly more bizarre than the last, and, of course, the antivaccine movement, there could be anything worse.

Then I learned about Alan Yurko.

Yurko, as you might recall, was a man who was convicted of shaking his girlfriend’s baby to death, producing a classic case of shaken baby syndrome, and as a result became the most unlikely hero to the antivaccine movement that I could imagine at the time. Unfortunately, now older, wiser, and more experienced, I’m no longer shocked at such things, but at the time I couldn’t believe that Yurko and his supporters were trying to blame the child’s death not on shaken baby syndrome but rather on “vaccine injury.” Worse, this lie has metastasized and become a major strain in antivaccine “thought” (if you can call it that) that has been used multiple times in (thankfully) mostly futile attempts to help child abusers beat their raps. Indeed, one antivaccine group, SaneVax, has even published a guide to blaming the deaths of children on vaccines.

Sadly, “courtesy” of the antivaccine group Vactruth and (of course!) the all-purpose crank and quack blog, I learn of another possible case of doing just this again. Here’s how the story is being portrayed after the baby received a round of immunizations on September 25, 2012:

Parents in South Africa are facing life in prison for the murder of their baby girl who died just days after receiving routine vaccinations. Baby A had received all her vaccinations on time. On September 25, 2012, when she was aged just five months, her parents took her to their local clinic, where she received a total of eight vaccinations before being sent home.

Baby A’s mother told VacTruth that the vaccinations were administered extremely harshly, with the nurse appearing to stab their daughter viciously with a variety of needles. Baby A received eight vaccines in total, the five-in-one vaccine Pentaxim said to protect against diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and polio; the hepatitis B vaccine; the rotavirus vaccine; and a vaccine said to protect babies against pneumocococcal and non-typeable haemophilus influenzae disease, Prenevar/Prenvar.

First off, despite the obvious attempt to make it sound as though this child was somehow violated with eight jabs by an evil nurse, when in reality it was many fewer jabs, given that two of these vaccines were combination vaccines. It’s a common tactic of the antivaccine movement to exaggerate how many injections are required and jack up the number of vaccinations. Be that as it may, the child was irritable and had what sounds like injection site reactions, with hard knots near the injection sites.

Two weeks later, on October 9, 2012, reportedly the baby was doing well, playing, kicking, and smiling. Here is how Vactruth is spinning the story:

On October 9, 2012, Baby A appeared to be her normal self, playing, kicking and smiling; however, the next day things were very different. Mrs. A explains:

“Baby A woke up and appeared to be crabby and running a high fever. She was only was happy if we were holding her and carrying her. That day, I gave her Panado and was dabbing her with a cool face towel to bring the fever down. At about 15:30 or so I had just finished feeding her and gave her to my husband to burp and as he was burping he heard her gasp for like a breath of air and when I looked at her she had collapsed on his shoulder and wasn’t breathing. She turned blue and we tried to give her CPR but as we were doing that she was throwing up and still was not breathing.

We decided to rush her to the nearest hospital but we were unfortunate as there was traffic at the time and only got there at about 16:00. I could be off a few minutes, we took her into the trauma unit and they took her from us and told us to wait in a separate room. They managed to resuscitate her and put her in the NICU, they then took her to get a CT scan and then said they needed to take x-rays as well.”

After what seemed like forever, the doctor appeared and informed the anxious parents that their daughter had blood on her brain and appeared to have been shaken. He said that the little girl had multiple fractures of the long bones.

After the previous example of Alan Yurko and other babies with shaken baby syndrome that I’ve blogged about, I bet you can tell where this is going. Here’s the little girl, being called Baby A. She’s unconscious. She has what sound like subdural hematomas and multiple long bone fractures. What could possibly have caused this? Obviously, it must have been the vaccines! Don’t believe me? Take a look at how Vactruth spins it next:

This is yet another tragic case in which parents have been accused of shaking their baby, after a possible vaccine injury has occurred. Baby A’s vaccination card showed that at the tender age of five months she had received a total of 21 routine vaccinations. This is a vast number of vaccinations and it is becoming evident that many babies of this age cannot tolerate an onslaught of toxins, chemicals and poisons of this magnitude.

It is important to recognize that some parents do physically abuse their children and while I appreciate that this is not acceptable, doctors must appreciate that not every injury is the result of child abuse.

At least in this case the antivaccine activist, Christina England, who wrote this piece concedes that some parents actually do physically abuse their children. Frequently when I read these stories, I don’t even see that acknowledgment, much less the concession that beating or shaking your child is a bad thing. But let’s take a look at this case, where England’s concession appears to be nothing more than a means of trying to seem reasonable while blaming a set of injuries that include long bone fractures and a subdural hematoma. Usually, these sorts of cases of shaken baby syndrome only involve a spectrum of head injuries and retinal hemorrhages that can be spun as being caused by vaccines, not trauma. The way antivaccinationists do this is by claiming that vaccines somehow caused encephalitis that leads to the subdural hemorrhages. It’s all nonsense, of course, but that’s what antivaccinationists claim.

How one spins a case like this, though, in which there isn’t just a head injury but there are also multiple long bone fractures as being due to “vaccine injury” and an “onslaught of toxins, chemicals, and poisons,” I have yet to be able to figure out, other than profoundly delusional thinking.

There’s another thing about this story. I tried very hard to find the original source of the story. I’ve failed. Neither nor provided a link to the original source of the story. Searching for “South Africa,” “Vaccine,” and a variety of terms related to shaken baby syndrome or child abuse only pulled up England’s article posted virtually verbatim on a variety of pro-quackery and antivaccine sites. (I even found the article translated into French and a variety of other languages.) Even using Google image search on the images in the article produced the same thing. Try as I might, I could not find the original source of the story. The closest I could find was this, and it’s not close. It’s one of those Internet stories that are so common, where it’s difficult or impossible to track down where it came from. For all I know, England could be lying about the location and enough of the details to make it impossible to track down the original source.

Yes, I smell a rat. Maybe readers in South Africa or readers with greater Google-Fu than I can find the source.

In the meantime, if you really want to be appalled and disgusted, just peruse the comments after the version of the story. There, you’ll find testimonials of this sort:

my son is in jail accused of shaking his son. His son had his 4 month vaccinations and check up, he was fine and then after became very sleepy , sleeping 5-6 hour naps and not being hungry, then began vomiting 48 hours after his shots. they took him to the hospital, they sent him home with anti nausea meds. they followed up w/ doctor the next day. He just told them to give pedialite and the anti nausea medicine. the next day he was still vomiting so they took him back to the doctor. They said just to keep offering pedialite 1/2 ounce every hour. he was still puking, so they took him to the hospital. the hospital kept him overnight and gave him an IV. then started small bottles and sent him home without any blood tests or anything. The next day he was puking still and had a seizure so they took him to the hospital again. They finally did a brain scan and saw that his brain was swollen and he had blood spots on his brain. The hospital called CPS and transferred him to the children’s hospital in the next town. They said he had shaken baby syndrome. The first hospital gave him too much potassium and caused him to have 4 more seizures in transit. When the police interrogated my son and his girlfriend/fiance they kept threatening to take the baby from both of them if someone didn’t confess to shaking him. The doctors did not even consider that the vaccines could have caused the symptoms. The baby had no bruises or neck trauma. If some one shook him hard enough to cause that kind of damage he would have had damage to his neck and back or some bruises. My son has lost everything because of this. We are still waiting for his day in court. It is costing us everything we have and then some for a lawyer to defend him. I have been sick because of this and have also lost about 10-15 pounds due to the stress. Please pray for us.

As I’ve said, there’s no depth to which antivaccinationists won’t sink.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

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107 replies on “Here we go again: The vile tactic of blaming shaken baby syndrome on vaccines”

What the h*ll is wrong with these f*cking nutballz?? The vaccine needle don’t even hit any bones, much less cause a blunt force trauma on said bones and I dare them to prove me wrong in that there’s no mechanism of action to break any bones following a vaccines considering the number of auties who bang their head on the wall (probably from having to deal with these nutballz) and not having any injuries.

Alain (riled off)…

It’s one of those Internet stories that are so common, where it’s difficult or impossible to track down where it came from.

England literally advises her readers not to trust all the claims she has made… The article ends with a note that “Names have been changed for legal purposes” (although no names were actually provided).
The poster child for Munchausen-Syndrome-by-proxy make stuff up? Unpossible!

I too saw this story over the weekend and became infuriated. I wanted to post a comment here on RI but figured someone like Denice would beat me to it. I should have had faith that Orac would develop it into its very own article.

In the comments on the Natural News story, one reasonable person asked how on earth vaccines could cause broken bones, and several other commenters replied that it was a violent nurse who administered the shots and broke the baby’s bones. This, as if it’s a completely normal and natural occurance.This is so farfetched and ludicrous I can’t believe no other readers there picked up on it.

How much force is required to pierce the skin with a small calibre needle, especially in a baby’s soft skin? The last time I received shots from my doctor (proud to say a flu shot and other adult vaccinations I was due to receive) he had finished the injections before I even knew he had started. I literally, honestly didn’t feel a thing.

Interesting to note the parents of the poor baby are now commenting on Natural News as well, playing the victim card and drumming up support and sympathy.

Has the lunatic fringe at AofA picked up on this story yet?

Of course Orac brings up the point that this entire story might amount to nothing more than an urban legend if there’s no corroboration anywhere else. I had never even considered that possibility.

From the mother’s account:

At about 15:30 or so I had just finished feeding her and gave her to my husband to burp and as he was burping he heard her gasp for like a breath of air and when I looked at her she had collapsed on his shoulder and wasn’t breathing. She turned blue and we tried to give her CPR but as we were doing that she was throwing up and still was not breathing.

We decided to rush her to the nearest hospital but we were unfortunate as there was traffic at the time and only got there at about 16:00.

Maybe things are different in South Africa, but if my baby was turning blue and not breathing, to the point where I felt compelled to try to administer CPR, my next step would be to call a damn ambulance and not drive there myself through traffic, which resulted in a half-hour delay getting to the hospital.

@Woo Fighter:

Maybe things are different in South Africa, but if my baby was turning blue and not breathing, to the point where I felt compelled to try to administer CPR, my next step would be to call a damn ambulance.

In South Africa there have been instances where ambulances have taken literally hours to arrive. I am not surprised they chose to drive to hospital themselves.


Thanks for the info. I guess that’s why I prefaced with Maybe things are different… I retract my comment with apologies to the parents, if they end up reading this.

Why does it take so long to get an ambulance, though? Is it a matter of economics, geography, politics, or none of the above?

@Woo Fighter, it’s incompetence. There are insufficient ambulances due to the fact that most government departments are badly run and very inefficient. I could go into detail, but that would be an Orac-ian length post on its own.

Trying to navigate England’s murky prose is not very rewarding, but I note that the child received at most 4 injections, not eight, if one of those was a five-in-one. So half the number of chances for a ‘vicious nurse’ to ‘stab the child repeatedly with a variety of needles’ than she implies .

If the nurse broke her bones by viciously stabbing her with a variety of needles, why is it that, “On October 9, 2012, Baby A appeared to be her normal self, playing, kicking and smiling”. After two weeks with untreated broken bones, I’d think she would be a bit unhappy.

Vaccines seem to have all kinds of effects. On one forum in the Netherlands, someone blamed the suicide her son committed when he was 37 on the vaccines he received when he was a kid.

If the nurse broke her bones by viciously stabbing her with a variety of needles

If I understand the argument correctly, the idea is that vaccines chelate vitamin D and cause a form of galloping rickets, in which the bones acquire the fragility of crystal goblets, and snap as a result of inflammation. The purported vicious stabbiness of the vaccination is irrelevant except to help us focus our hatred upon the medical professions.

Has the lunatic fringe at AofA picked up on this story yet?

Do they have sufficient self-preservation to stay away from allying themselves with the Infanticide Apologist Network? Only time will tell.

I’ve had infants and children in my practice who were victims of abusive head trauma (aka shaken baby syndrome) returned to the same environment (home) in which they were abused because no on could determine who actually abused the child. This happens in AZ because judges who view children as property and not people deserving of a safe, loving home. The irony here is rich because concussion guidelines for kids now say that after 2 concussions during a sports season (and we’re not talking anywhere near the level of brain trauma as seen in shaken baby syndrome), you (the physician) should have that child stop that sport for the rest of the season. But, hey, infants and toddlers can defend themselves much better than teens playing football, so let’s put them back in their abusive homes and let whomever shook them give them another head shot, right?

I don’t get it. We’ve got one lunatic group freaked out over every little thing that goes into their child (the antivaccine crowd), and then we have (at least in the US, especially here in AZ), a court system that thinks it is just dandy to throw abused children back into a lion pit. So, of course, like a demented Reese’s peanut butter cup, the two are going to meet for one not-so-great taste.

Since we’ve already got a nasty little subset of criminal defense attorneys specializing in trying to get acquittals for Munchausen-by-proxy defendants, is there such a thing as specialization in shaken baby defense based on purported “vaccine injury”?

True, it hasn’t been very successful so far, but I can see where it could be effective when presented to less sophisticated juries.

I am delighted to report, by the way, that Dr Buttram of SBS-denalism has his own entry in the Encyclopedia of American Loons (as do many other of the usual suspects). Alas, an accident of birth rules out Christina England from eligibility.

There have been cases where there were unknown medical issues that caused injuries that were blamed on shaken baby syndrome, and there’ve been people exonerated and released from prison when those were realized.

But vaccines? Nope. Nothing vaccines could cause would mimic that.

Ugh, ugh, ugh. Vile. For all their bleating about protecting children from teh eveel vaccine toxins, antivaxxers are remarkably callous about genuine child abuse, aren’t they?

Andrew — one of the more famous is “glass baby syndrome”, or osteogenesis imperfecta. It’s an extremely rare genetic condition (so, vaccines of course have nothing whatsoever to do with it) that causes the bones to be extraordinarily brittle. It condemns a child to a life of pain and disability and, usually, considerable deformity since constant bone fractures tend to seriously mess up the growth patterns of the bones. Many do not survive to adulthood, but some do.

As Orac is a Whovian, one notable example is the British actor Nabil Shaban, who portrayed the loathsome “Sil” in “Vengeance on Varos” and “Trial of a Time Lord: Mindwarp”. He is a little person, but only by virtue of his disability, which has severely stunted his growth, and he has the characteristic barrel chest, and he has considerable mobility problems. His disability was used as an asset here, driving the design choices behind Sil’s costume. They made him into an aquatic creature, who was thus forced to rely on personal attendants to push him around in a cart on land. (In a lot of ways, his character is reminiscent of Cassandra on the revived series; extremely conceited, arrogant, sociopathic, and dependent on personal attendants who are constantly bossed around.) The actor himself is one of those who has survived a long time with the condition, of course, and he runs an agency for actors with disabilities.

@ Woo Fighter ::

” someone like Denice”… Ha.
Well, right, I did see the article.
Believe it or not, I do have multiply diverse- but inter-nested- duties- ( and clients are the least of it) peace-keeping, raising sunken spirits and financially managing slightly at-sea and overly emotional but otherwise lovely folk who look to me for assistance in their day-to-day travails. Someone has to do it and I’m related to- or have been “involved” with- most of them.

At any rate:
Yurko has been championed by alties including Null who featured him in one of his overly slick but factually insubstantial documentaries ( “Vaccination Nation”) – you can see the trailer and excerpts on the woo-meister’s you tube channel. Sickmaking.

In other anti-vax news:
AoA features Meryl Dorey’s plea for funds to pay her 11K AUD court costs. Money is streaming in they tell us.. Some comments compare her to people who fought against real injustice or rallied to support those who battled actual evil.

Shame on them. She is only a loud-mouthed person who spouts pseudo-science and misleads frightened young parents in order to chase fame.

AoA suffers from delusions of grandeur. Its so-called writers suffer from delusions concerning their verbal ability and its application towards reality.

-btw- I like the ‘nym despite Grohl- his is foo, yours is woo.
Supposedly “Foo fighters” were a WWII reference to UFOs.

@Denise – there was an old saying, “where there is Foo, there is Fire….”

No idea where it came from….

@ Lawrence:

There’s a 2005 Sci-tech article ( @ the Triangle) by Aaron Sakulich called “Where there’s Foo, there’s likely to be Fire..”

Most of us don’t track alt-med memes, and are surprised when something as ugly and crazy as this pops up — but very often the idea has been around and accepted by the in-group for a long time. The idea that shaken baby syndrome is actually a misdiagnosis for vaccine injury (note the parallel to mercury) has been around for decades, and is a particular obsession of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Guess who’s a member!

The wikipedia article for “Foo fighter” (the phenomenon) cites the “Smokey Stover” comic strip as the source of “Where there’s foo there’s fire”.

My parents have a Time Life book on UFOs. It’s surprisingly well-balanced, given its topic.
@Lawrence: it came from a cartoon. Don’t ask me which one. The joke is “foo” is a corruption of “feu”, french for fire. It’s a tautology.
@Denice Walter: yes. It is a reference from WWII. Allied pilots saw strange lights in the sky and nicknamed them “foo fighters”. They were suspected of being advanced german warplanes. After the war, it was learnt that the Germans thought they were advanced allied aircraft!

Remember Elwood Sadowski who was convicted of murdering his child?

Remember Elwood’s wife Tonya, who had a website “The Amanda Project”. At the time she had instituted divorce proceedings against Elwood, but was actively defending her husband.

The website is now expanded run by her and other paralegals and she has allied herself with Christina England. England has a book that she will be publishing with Dr. Lucija Tomljevonic (Where have I read about Dr. Tomljevonic, before?)

So, did the parent that tried CPR on the baby actually know how to administer CPR? Any other broken bones? Meh…

This is a year-old article. Slow day at But Denice’s comment “despite Grohl” reminds me that The Foo Fighters were huge HIV denialistsand have never refuted their support for Alive and Well, even after its founder Christine Maggiore and her daughter (and untold others) died as a direct result of HIV denialism. Dave, Nate, you have some ‘splainin to do, because your support probably has a body count.
OT rant is now terminated

I admit I was rather disappointed when Orac pointed out the AIDS denialist angle to the Foo Fighters when I switched my user name (from Marc Stephens Is Insane). Ironic considering the Foos worked with Brian May (of Queen) several years back on a few collaborations. Brian May has a Ph.D. in astrophysics and is one of the most intelligent musicians to have ever come along. I wonder if May knew about the Foos AIDS stance back then, considering he watched his bandmate Freddie Mercury die of AIDS in the 90s.

Having met and interviewed Dave a few times in my radio days, I have to admit I was struck by his intelligence on real world matters as well. I guess that intelligence only stretched so far.

To be fair, the Foos have scrubbed all references to the AIDS denialist movement from their website in recent years. Maybe they’ve seen the light.


Some of these are the people who endorse bleach enemas. What did you expect?

Oh, I know. I just think it needs to be pointed out emphatically and often that these people happily turn a blind eye to children’s suffering if it will help promote their ideology. And sell their books/quack treatments/get them hired on daytime talk shows.

DB@15: As your link points out, a competent prosecutor can and should move to exclude the so-called expert testimony that would support such a defense. (S)he can also put a question about whether any given prospective juror believes vaccines have caused injury to the juror or anyone in his/her immediate family to the voir dire, in order to weed out some of the ant-vax loons from the jury pool. We can assume that the prosecutor in any such case is not an anti-vax loon, because if (s)he were (s)he would move to dismiss the charges and the case would never reach trial. But there is no guarantee that the prosecutor is competent; certainly not in the US, where district attorney (who heads the office that would prosecute most criminal cases in that county) is an elected position. There is also the risk that, if the judge is an anti-vax loon, (s)he can overrule the prosecutor’s motion.

People who pull that crap should be exposed for the frauds that they are, as well as being murderers. No defense attorney should ever try to get that defense in, and no judge should allow it, based solely on grounds of scientific plausibility and of it not meeting the Daubert standard. (in courts in the USA anyway. )

This makes me fvcking weep. Not metaphorically, literally.

Here’s the deal – I’m 35 (I think!) and have never wanted children*. I have been told I am unnatural, not a real woman, that I hate children, that I am evil and a danger to children**, simply because I do not wish to bear children of my own.

Now, as someone who’s worked in the health service I know how bad life can get for some of the world’s kids. I also know roughly how much force it takes to break one of the long bones, to cause petechial haemorrhages, and to cause fatal brain injuries.

It is beyond disgusting that people who have devoted their lives to providing healthcare are being vilified, that they are cast as demonic child torturers, simply to further the heinous, twisted agenda of science-denialists. It never fails to enrage me when these hateful, poisonous charlatans place all parents on an unreachable golden pedestal, as ~Warrior Mommies and Daddies~, that parents are viewed as beyond reproach when children have suffered injury or death. Healthcare providers, those without children, or marginalised groups (by virtue of their sexuality, gender presentation, ethnicity, religion/lack of, profession, disabilities etc) are portrayed as dangerous monsters lurking around every corner.***

Here in the real world the truth is starkly different. Children who are abused, r*ped and killed are overwhelmingly victims of their own parents, followed by other family members, with “monsters” making a rather pathetic contribution to the stats.

Children are denied urgent healthcare (like little Neon, here in the UK), or access to preventative medicine, they act as disease vectors to other children, they die due to neglected conditions that are considered routine and trivial these days (asthma, eczema etc)

Disabled (physically, developmentally, intellectually) children are victims of every kind of abuse by their “parents” and “care”givers, up to and including murder. This occurs at rates so staggering that if it were happening to any other group of people there would be rioting in the streets. Yet nothing is done. In the rare event that abuse is investigated it is typically the child who is classed as the cause of the abuse, the real perpetrator, because their “poor parents have suffered so much”. Murdering your disabled child will typically get you a smaller sentence (usually none at all) than you’d get for abusing or killing your dog.

But no, no, it’s doctors and nurses, scientists and pharmacists who are evil, murderous monsters, vaccines break bones, bleach enemas are valid treatments, and black is banana, up is kangaroo.

At times like this I’m glad that I’m stuck here and incapable of acting on this all-consuming rage and hurt that I feel on behalf of these kids.

@Alain – nice to see you back!

@Chris Hickie- Nothing surprises me about your country. American RI-squad know that I love you, but as one of two countries (Somalia is the other, I believe) that refuse to sign onto the the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child, it might as well be open season on kids in parts of the US.

*Just as well really! We had planned to foster, years ago, obviously that’s not possible now.

**The many children who consider me their ‘Auntie elburto’ may be at risk of overdosing on the books I give them, being mobbed by their little friends because I’ve modded (by proxy now) their electronic gadgets, or by inhaling pen fumes from the many pictures they draw to cheer me up because I can’t see them in person. SAVE THEM!

***Hi, I’m elburto – former NHS worker, visibly disabled, lesbian, mentally-ill, non-NT, atheist, childfree, feminist geek. FEAR ME, FOR I WILL NOM YOUR CHILDREN WITH FAVAJELLY BEANS, AND A NICE CHIANTI COLD PEPSI!

England’s spin on the Sth Africa story turns up on a FB page In Loving Memory of Alex Spourdalakis (in which antivaxxers co-opt the name of an autistic youth murdered by his caregivers, in order to push their barrow and defend his murderers).
I suppose it makes sense to extend that defense to infanticide in general.

Anyway, mixed in with all the woo, the FB page also includes rants about ‘Obamacare’, of the familiar tea-party “keep government out of my Medicare” variety. The same antivax / tea-party convergence turned up on other FB pages.

@hdb – Alex is one of the innumerable victims of that fatal combination of woo and state-sanctioned ableism that I was ranting about. He’ll almost certainly be painted as the aggressor.

@Shay – Nigel Wavers (my girl-fish) says her name is unisex, and to spread it around!

Oh and AIDS denialsts? Filth. Walking faecal transplants. If HIV is harmless then they should put their bloodstreams where their mouths are, and be infected.

The Dachel bot has called out her flying monkey squad to flood the comments section of this article written by a Buffalo New York doctor about vaccines and the now debunked vaccine-autism link.

Our Dr. Chris Hickie has been posting there and I just joined him. Unfortunately the comments platform puts any comments with links in moderation purdah. Come and join us there.

@ elburto:

Nigel is SO much better than Nigella.

I appear superficially more the socially sanctioned median than you do,
HOWEVER that makes people even more shocked to learn some of my opinions and beliefs.

I never really wanted children despite having had a supportive partner when I was the ‘right age’- he would have probably made a good mother. I think that not having children made my life better ( I can hear the cries of “Stone her!” about NOW). I had other aims and responsibilities which I fulfilled.

Everyone doesn’t have to be the same, think the same, live the same. That mentality harkens back to centuries past and who wants to have to go through that rot again?

Plus you can drive a Range Rover, fly everywhere in a G5, burn fires in all your fire places nightly, leave the lights on all night for the rest of your life and still not have the carbon footprint of a person who reproduces just once.

Is it just me or do a lot of the mothers in the various Autism movements seem to be more interested in identifying as mothers than in the well-being of their children? (Not exclusive to AOA, TMR, I also noticed it in a certain woman who is very publicly raising a child with Down’s Syndrome.)

And I myself am debating whether I want a partner in life because I want to spend the next 20 years or so, working in some select places in the world (California, Germany among other) holding jobs for which I’d derive pleasure and give my best.

Perhaps I’m unconsciously weighting in the difficulty of finding a mate but I’ve had limited success with girls and despite my willingness to make the necessary compromise and invest in the relationship, I have been very unlucky so far. And I’m not sure if I want to invest in a relationship.


OK – in the South Africa story, the evil nurse broke the baby’s long bones, and the parents didn’t notice until TWO WEEKS LATER when they took her to the hospital for seizures etc? WTF?

Can I ask what dung heap these individuals crawled out of, or would that be too derogatory to beetles and other creepycrawlies that are supposed to be that way?

I mean…isn’t “we need child abusers to make us more appealing” a sure sign that your movement has scraped clear through the bottom of the barrel? And shouldn’t this be a clear sign in any fencesitter’s mind that the antivaxers have completely lost the plot with regard to reality?

The funny thing is even if the “violent nurse” had caused the broken bones and the trauma while administering the vaccines, she would be the cause not the vaccines.

@Chris Hickie
I did my PhD on morbillivirus vaccines. There is a canarypox-vectored canine distemper virus vaccine (which by definition can’t replicate in mammals) which might actually provide some protection (vets used to give measles vaccine to provide cross protection against canine distemper until pups outgrew their maternal antibody). The joy is in administration–most dolphins aren’t going to sit still for a vaccination, if you can even find them. Other poxvirus-vectored vaccines, such as rabies, can be given as oral bait, but I’d hate to think of what you’d have to do to stabilize it in a marine environment (and prevent birds from eating it.)
A challenging problem, indeed.


Nigel is SO much better than Nigella.

Not least because the latter sounds like a tropical disease. I assume you are talking about names; I definitely prefer Nigella Lawson to Nigel Lawson.

OT but I see Wentworth has made it to terrestrial UK TV – it was on Ch5 earlier, except they have changed its name to ‘Wentworth Prison’ for some reason ( I was a Cell Block H fan in the 80s and have become a secret Wentworth fan).

This is one of those areas that really pisses me off. JPANDS was big on shaken-baby-abuser-apologetics.

@ janet –at least the dolphins wouldn’t have “thinking dolphin moms” to refuse vaccination. I was thinking about how you could do oral bait in the ocean (holy mackerel, vacman!), and know that you actually got it to where it needs to be. It doesn’t look as easy as on land. I didn’t check any other manufacturer web sites, but Merck actually does list a mammalian erysipelas vaccine as approved for cetaceans (including dolphins), with my guess being it’s used for those in captivity, and not by some Dr. Ahab out on the deep blue sea with giant harpoon syringes.

Chris Hickie: I’m yoinking ‘giant harpoon syringes.’ Would be a great gimmick for a villain.

I think this story has a ring of truth. Until very recently vaccinations in South Africa were administered with a lump hammer. It’s easy to see how an inattentive nurse tasked with hammering the needle in could smash a child’s bones with repeated blows. South Africa more or less acknowledged the risk because they’ve switched to using rubber mallets instead.

Re. osteogenesis imperfecta:
As Orac is a Whovian, one notable example is the British actor Nabil Shaban
…I know of him as an exponent of the theory that Ivar the Boneless, well-known leader of vikings, was an earlier case of osteogenesis imperfecta.
He is promoting Ivar as a positive role model that will shift young people with osteogenesis imperfecta away from lying around in the victim role feeling sorry for themselves, and will instead inspire them to develop great skills of generalship so they can rally a Viking army and invade England. The story involves viking re-enactors.

@krebiozen -We *cough* ‘acquired’ Wentworth as it aired in Oz, and spent ten weeks going from excited to euphoric, with the levels increasing with each week. Suffice it to say that by the time we reached the series finale we were nervous wrecks!

We adore PCBH, we’re actually rewatching our DVDs from beginning to end, but Wentworth was breathtakingly good. It makes poor old Prisoner look like a kids show in comparison. The fight scenes are incredibly visceral and it’s not often on-screen sexual shenanigans can make me blush(!), but it was the acting that blew us away, Danielle Cormack takes Bea Smith to a whole new level

Oh, and the “Next year on Wentworth” five-second preview at the end of the finale made me and OMe literally scream in unison, that’s how thrilled we were! Couldn’t talk for two hours. Totally worth it.

@Denice – Other Mrs elburto’s colleagues keep insisting that ‘Nigel’ should be ‘Nigella’. Luckily they are used to our ways, and understood when they were told “Goldfish do not care about the gender binary, they are too busy learning to dance around their tank, duh”.

‘Nigella’ sounds like a food-borne pathogen, or a generic contraceptive pill.

I similarly acquired Wentworth when I came across it quite by accident, but I have been rationing myself, so I still have a few episodes to go before the finale. I think it’s a very clever adaptation, having grown up with its fans (strong stuff at times as you say), and not getting bogged down with staying true to the original in every detail – having a prequel set in the present day is genius. I suspect I will never get to see Erica’s accent turn posh, Bea have her kidney transplant, or Lizzie turn skinny and brunette 😉

There’s some excellent Aussie drama about. I absolutely loved Rake, for example.

BTW, nigella (aka kalonjo aka black cumin) is also a quack cancer treatment, of course. I prefer to give the seeds to wild birds, who love them.

elburto, given the distances between our respective domiciles, NIgella the goldfish and Nigel the kitten will probably never meet. Fortunately.

Military vaccination methodes are probably the most brutal around — I’ve been made to bleed during vaccinations by sadistic Navy corpsmen with injection guns — but I still can’t figure out how a bone could have been broken in the process even with a sailor doing it.

A while ago, I heard of nigella woo for asthma of all things- you need to take a lot of it ( by the spoonful).

One of guys tried it out and it did absolutely nothing for his asthma. Oddly enough, he tried it on diverse foods which didn’t really match well- but then he does have an interesting sense of food combinations that I cannot entirely fathom.

Fortunately, he didn’t put it on banana cream pies or baklava.

I do not dispute the fact, that some evil people do abuse their children, and they try to shift their blame on something else, for example vaccines, but common, if a mother already had 2 children that were perfectly fine and looked after, why on earth she would decide to shook her 3 baby straight after vaccines and not leaving any evidences of abuse? It just doesn’t make any sense at all. I do believe that in some cases vaccines might trigger symptoms of previously undetected abnormalities in the body. I have a child myself and she had all her immunizations on time, I am not anti vaccines, just an open minded person.

I do believe that in some cases vaccines might trigger symptoms of previously undetected abnormalities in the body.

I don’t know why you’re describing your belief system. Can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m more interested in evidence.

not leaving any evidences of abuse?
You do not consider broken bones, bruising and fatal brain damage as “evidences of abuse”? This may be the problem.

Anastasia, my oldest child had severe seizure as an infant before he had any vaccines. It did not cause broken bones.

Please provide the verifiable evidence that vaccines on the American pediatric schedule cause more seizures than the actual diseases, and those seizures cause bones to fracture. I really need to see that evidence.

I was describing the case of my long time colleague and friend. She has 3 beautiful children and a good family background. When she took her youngest child for immunization, he fell ill straight after. At the hospital he was diagnosed with non accidental head injury. No bruises or fractures. Bilateral subdural hemorrhages, extensive retinal hemorrhages in the left eye and some other abnormalities within the left eye. Initial ophthalmologist examination concluded damage to the eye is consistent with shaken baby syndrome, however, later diagnosis was changed to vascular disease. Subdural hemorrhages are of the same day as immunization, coincidence or was it triggered by immunization?

Initial ophthalmologist examination concluded damage to the eye is consistent with shaken baby syndrome, however, later diagnosis was changed to vascular disease.

If you accept the conclusion of medical professionals that the brain and retinal hemorrhages resulted from an existing vascular disease, then it would seem reasonable to also accept the conclusion of other medical professionals that immunisations are not associated with (do not trigger) the fulmination of a vascular condition.
I mean, you could reject the weight of medical opinion in the second case, but then you are also left rejecting the weight of medical opinion that says your friend was not involved.

Still trying to figure out what biological mechanism would allow vaccines to cause long-bone fractures…..

@ Anestasia
I can think of several reasons:
1. The other children were more easy going, not much crying or in any other way triggering an abusive reaction. (By triggering I don’t mean I want to blame the victim.)
2. The mother might be more stressed by other circumstances, making her reacting stronger if the baby is crying. (Again, this is no excuse, just a way to explain why one baby is shaken, while other children are perfectly healthy, which doesn’t necessary mean they aren’t abused, just that they survived it unharmed.)

To explain the triggering: I tend to shout at my cats if one of them dropped something outside the litterbox. I know they don’t do this to annoy me, but in a way it does. So the behaviour of the cat triggers me to shout at them, but they are not to blame.

Sadly, a “good family background” doesn’t preclude abuse. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories involving “good family backgrounds,” and I’ll leave it at that.

I do wonder if the baby had had previous symptoms that weren’t as noticeable, but I don’t know how vascular disease works. It’s certainly a good thing they realized it *wasn’t* shaken baby.

But it wasn’t the vaccines either. They’d’ve caught that already, given that they *do* carefully watch for adverse reactions with vaccines, and can pick up even very rare ones.

In one sense, this is evolution in action; parents who do this idiot cruelty are much less likely to have children that survive to breed themselves. The pity is that the innocent children die for their parents’ stupidity — and worse, spread preventable diseases that infect other people’s children. Winners of the Darwin Award at least take themselves out of the gene-pool without harming anybody else.

was referred to a paper by Michael Innis ( I read and then I did not know whether I should laugh because of the poor quality of the paper or get mad at the publishers.

“Getting mad at the publishers” is a valid option here, for they are on Beall’s list of Predatory Open-Access publishers (i.e. vanity presses for the academic world). Laughing is also good… in the Reference list the author admits that citation #4 is a retracted article (courtesy of our friend Wakefield).

I’m also impressed that he managed to misspell the name of his very first reference. If he’d mispelled Kalokerinos, I might have understood, but getting “Medows” out of “Meadow” is, uh, not indicative of a commitment to getting things right.

I honestly did not manage to reach the reference section. I was already rolling on the floor laughing reading the methods and results sections and then had too many tears on my eyes to read anything more.
I am not surprised that the editor is not entirely honest considering the claim that such paper had been peer reviewed. Any editor that even sent that for review would have been fired on the spot if working for even a half serious journal.

“As I’ve said, there’s no depth to which antivaccinationists won’t sink.”
Or Orac, it would seem.

Could vaccines cause the symptoms associated with Shaken Baby Syndrome? Well, at least one prominent neuropathologist thinks so.

But let’s take a breast surgeon’s word instead. Oh, gee, in fact, Orac even cites this paper and then states, “Notice that none of the conditions listed above includes ‘vaccine injury.’ There is no evidence that vaccine injury can cause the triad associated with SBS/abusive head trauma.” ( To be fair, the words “vaccine injury” do not appear, but a simple word search for “vaccination” appears 3 times.

The author states:
“Multifactorial and secondary cascades are common, for example ‘trivial trauma’ in the context of predisposing or complicating medical conditions such as prematurity, pre-existing subdural haemorrhage, coagulopathy and infectious or post-infectious condition (e.g. recent

And also states in a bullet point:
“Vaccination – Infants may collapse with the triad in the
days following immunisations, possibly due to a
pyrexial response triggering seizures.”

Is this proof that vaccination causes the triad? Obviously not. But it does seem odd that Orac would cite a paper that he apparently didn’t begin to read, let alone comprehend the concept of non-traumatic causes of the triad.

“Yes, I smell a rat.” I could not have said it better.

@Jeremy – care to explain how vaccines could cause Long Bone Fractures?

How about defending some other child murders while you are at it?

Oh, goody. It’s Jeremy again.


One notes that I was perhaps too kind to Waney Squier in my original discussion. She did mention vaccination, but it was in passing and a very minor part of a rather long article. I’d like to thank you, because you made me realize in retrospect that I wrongly gave her too much of the benefit of the doubt. Mea culpa. I now realize that the woman clearly falls into the same categories as all the other “shaken baby syndrome” excusers who try to blame it on vaccines. She just buries the same old crap in a bunch of other causes designed to exonerate child abusers. I won’t make the same mistake next time. Indeed, one notes that Squier is so bad that she even has her own approving page, as unerring an indication that someone has crossed from scientific “maverick” into crank territory that I can think of:

But, hey. I’m glad promoters of this vile idea like you are reading my posts so closely and clicking on every link. I like to think that someday you might actually learn something. Likely I hope in vain.

I think Mr Praay covered much of the same ground in a RI thread last year.

care to explain how vaccines could cause Long Bone Fractures?
There is always Buttram’s theory explanation-shaped pile of words, “metabolic bone disease”, which is one step above “leprechauns dunnit”.

Oh, gee, in fact, Orac even cites this paper and then states, “Notice that none of the conditions listed above includes ‘vaccine injury.’ There is no evidence that vaccine injury can cause the triad associated with SBS/abusive head trauma.”

I am wondering why Jeremy waited until now to comment on a different thread from 18 months ago.
I am also wondering how Prof. Squier’s undoubted qualifications in neuropathology lend her any special authority on vaccination side-effects.

it is indeed interesting how someone who views himself as a skeptic can readily embrace the shaking hypothesis and claim that Dr. Squier is a “crank.” But… Hey… Why take the word of someone who has spent more than 30 years as a pediatric neuropathologist when we have a breast surgeon who says it can’t be so? I would dare say that Dr. Squier is probably one of the most knowledgeable pathologists in the world when it comes to the infant brain. Does that mean that vaccines cause the triad? Certainly not. But it does put her in a much better position to consider post-infectious causes of subdural hemorrhage.

Orac, I think it’s quite evident that you simply enjoy name-calling. It generates lots of laughter among your countless toadies, but does nothing to make any headway toward honest discussion. Contrast this with your colleague, Dr. Novella. I have to wonder how he tolerates you at all.

And by the way, I’m obviously not reading your posts very closely, since I didn’t catch this until last week. Too bad you didn’t cross-post on SBM again, or I may have caught it sooner.

Hi, lilady.

Do you really think that was a fair comment about the Facebook page? Perhaps you do… I would also like to point you to Both of these are run by my close friend. Since you posted the link, I was also very involved the the Leo Ackley case noted on that page, and I am quite proud of my contribution. I recently attended a public fundraiser event for him as well. I wish I could say more, but that will have to come out at the new trial. There are other cases that I am helping with as well. Additionally, Dr. Waney Squier was one of those who testified and was successful in having Colin Matchim’s conviction overturned.

You can feel free to discredit me as much as you want., but the truth doesn’t depend on your acceptance, nor mine. I am who I am.

Jeremy Praay: I am who I am.

Yeah, and there aren’t enough middle fingers in the world, monster.

I’m touched, but keep your middle fingers to yourself, please.

Why take the word of someone who has spent more than 30 years as a pediatric neuropathologist when we have a breast surgeon who says it can’t be so?

Mr. Praay, I have often observed that sarcasm is a favored tactic of people championing dubious causes because it allows them to avoid stating exactly what they want people to believe.

Here, for instance, if you weren’t using sarcasm, you would have to come out and say “I think we should trust Dr. Squier’s opinions on the subject over Orac’s because Dr. Squier has had 30 years as a pediatric neuropathologist and Orac is a breast surgeon.” And if you did so, then people would of course spot and point out the huge flaw in your argument, which is that one can be active in a field for several decades and it’s no guarantee that one is competent in that field. Just look at Jay Gordon, who is constantly harping on his decades of practice as a pediatrician but recommends homeopathy on his website. You are correct that the truth “doesn’t depend on your acceptance, or mine,” but that’s a funny thing for you to say when you are arguing, from all appearances, that the acceptance of Dr. Squier should be taken as a determiner of truth.

… I find it hard to determine what I should write, next. I want to make it clear that if there was a credible case being made for the overdiagnosis of shaken baby syndrome, I would take it seriously and I think a lot of others would as well – but if I were to spell out all the many ways in which the case made by the current “no such thing as shaken baby syndrome” crowd fails to be credible, that Mr. Praay would take careful notes and use that information to tailor his future propaganda for the cause.

I’ll simply say that if someone says “I have come to a rational conclusion that shaken baby syndrome doesn’t actually exist, and my best evidence that it doesn’t is the case of Alan Yurko, a man convicted for violent crimes both before and after what must have been a false conviction of violently causing the death of an infant”, then I am unlikely to agree that the conclusion they reached was rational. It’s like insisting that what you saw David Copperfield do couldn’t have been some kind of magic trick.

As for me, personally, Dr. Orac, you have made me more skeptical of the vaccine explanation for the triad. So feel free to congratulate yourself. But it is never something I have embraced, simply because it’s not generally an explanation that is going to help anyone in a legal context. Indeed, it had nothing to do with Mr. Yurko’s exoneration, as other have pointed out.

Could immunization cause the triad in an infant who has an undiagnosed chronic SDH? I think it seems quite possible. Many of the cases I’ve studied where the infant simply stops breathing during feeding (allegedly), you can usually bet the farm that a chronic SDH will be found. It seems more than a bit odd that so many of these alleged perpetrators have nearly identical stories, and the infants have nearly identical “injuries.” “I was feeding the baby when he/she began to gasp, then went stiff (or limp).” Was it due to vaccination? Personally, I hope not, and I have not seen any real evidence put forward that would convince me of it. But clearly, there is a great deal that we still do not understand, especially in the unmyelinated (or incompletely myelinated) infant brain.

There is also the vast dural vascular structure that Dr. Squier has written about many times. Even her critics have begun to embrace many of her concepts, and if I’m not mistaken, the president of the AAP even said something along the lines of, “perhaps we got it wrong” in regard to the ruptured bridging vein hypothesis. Who was responsible for this paradigm shift? Dr. Orac? No. Dr. Waney Squier.

My only real problem is that you refer to those who have been wrongfully convicted and/or falsely accused as if they are guilty. I have never met Mr. Yurko, but I have met several others, and they are genuinely good people whose lives have been put through hell based on an unproven hypothesis. Some might even consider it a disproven hypothesis, but I would not venture that far. Regardless, I do believe the classic theory of the torn bridging veins and vitreoretinal traction have largely been discredited, and are no longer accepted. Mr. Yurko is no saint. He is not a doctor. But when you know that you didn’t cause the alleged injuries, and you don’t know what did, I can understand why he was swayed by the vaccine injury hypothesis.

But I get it. You are producing infotainment. You have an audience that wants to be entertained. I’m certain you do a fine job with that.

@Antaeus Feldspar

I’m talking about when skeptics whom I admire show a most unskeptical side. I’m talking about when a skeptic who really, really should know better makes an enormous mistake, a mistake that puts him firmly in the camp of denialists, although hopefully he doesn’t realize it. Fortunately it doesn’t happen very often that such a prominent skeptic makes such an error, but it’s very disconcerting when it does.

@Antaeus Feldspar

Perhaps you recognize the excerpt that I reported above.

In regards to a credible case being made, I don’t think the most credible case is that “SBS does not exist,” but rather that it is being, and certainly has been, overdiagnosed. I am personally aware of scores of people who have been accused, as I stated earlier. Once a child abuser beats the rap, what would be his or her incentive to spend his or her own hard earned money to try to put an end to these false accusations? Fine, that isn’t proof of anything, but it should give one pause.

Google Phil Locke on the wrongful convictions blog. He has put together a bit of information. I plan to attend the World Congres on Infant Head Trauma ( While it was originally supposed to be a debate, my understanding is that Dr. Case pulled out when she discovered that those with opposing views would be presenting. There are still a small few on the “pro” side, but I find it very unfortunate that there are not others. As for Dr. Evan Matshes, he seems to be straddling the fence, as do many other pathologists. In fact, in a recent hearing that I attended, the medical examiner stated that “it’s like a religion. You have to choose which side you believe.” (Or words to that effect) Since when does science depend on belief? As my new friend, Tom Bohan* told me, it’s “faith-based forensics.”

Instead of asking me for proof that SBS doe not exist, I’m still waiting for the proof that it DOES exist. After an estimated 70,000 cases worldwide, you would think that at least one person would have a shaken baby on video developing the triad.

*Former president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (2009-2010)

Dude, you have no idea what a skeptic is. Or what they do. Fundamentally, skeptics are on the side of reason and data. We aren’t on the side of denialism. You are.
You seriously don’t think someone who got convicted of child abuse might want to scrub their reputation out of sheer self-interest? Or that anti-vaccine people, being both dumb and malevolent, will latch onto anything that purports to implicate the dreaded needle, regardless of data? You must be new to the ‘net.

“I think we should trust Dr. Squier’s opinions on the subject over Orac’s because Dr. Squier has had 30 years as a pediatric neuropathologist and Orac is a breast surgeon.”

The specific topic here is vaccines — and whether they can produce effects to mimic physical-assault injuries in an infant. Since this is neither Orac’s nor Prof. Squier’s original research area, I tend to pay attention to the one who has followed the literature more closely.

@ Jeremy Praay: You and your sock puppet on the SBM blog, originally came to the blogs because you and Tonya Sadowsky were defending Elwood Sadowsky, who was convicted of murdering his infant daughter:

You, your sock puppet and Tonya Sadowsky, were unsuccessful in defending the murderer, in court and on the Respectful Insolence and Science Based Medicine blog…for the simple reason that Orac, Dr. Gorski and the posters on their blogs, took apart each and every false argument that you, Tonya and her “experts” raised on behalf of Elwood Sadowsky.

Elwood is in jail where he belongs. And you Jeremy? What are you doing on behalf of kids who are abused or murdered by their parents or their caregivers?

Orac, I think it’s quite evident that you simply enjoy name-calling. It generates lots of laughter among your countless toadies.

Hypocrisy Meter vapourised.

Once a child abuser beats the rap, what would be his or her incentive to spend his or her own hard earned money to try to put an end to these false accusations? Fine, that isn’t proof of anything, but it should give one pause.

So people in your world care only about “beating the rap” and care nothing for their reputations? Utter BS. Not only is it “not proof of anything,” it’s not even real evidence of anything. When useful idiots like you are willing to say “Gosh, he’s willing to spend some of his own money to try and dispute a reputation for *infant murder*! He must be innocent!” it just gives those who are guilty *more incentive* to launder their reputations at such a cheap price.

And yes, again, referring to Alan Yurko as someone who “knows he didn’t cause the [fatal] injuries” shows that you’re trying to fit facts to your conclusion, rather than having reached a conclusion through rational examination of the facts.

To everyone, I’m not going to respond to personal attacks. Yes, I have made mistakes, and I can’t stop you from pointing them out. In fact, I have no problem being open and honest in this discussion. That’s what I attempted to do last October, but I obviously made some poor judgements on the SBM blog.

“You seriously don’t think someone who got convicted of child abuse might want to scrub their reputation out of sheer self-interest? Or that anti-vaccine people, being both dumb and malevolent, will latch onto anything that purports to implicate the dreaded needle, regardless of data? You must be new to the ‘net.”
No, I don’t believe that, and I would agree with what you are saying here. If you think that’s what I said, then please reread my post.

@Antaeus Feldspar and @Politicalguineapig

Apparently, I worded that badly. I know quite a few who are working to stop the false allegations of child abuse against others. Their own allegations have often been laid to rest (for some, years ago), and if anything, it would be in their own best interests to just leave it alone. They are doing it to help others who find themselves in the same mess, usually at their own expense, much as I am doing.

As for Alan Yurko, the last thing I would not want to do is free an actual child abuser or murderer, and none of the people I work with want to do that either. I have NEVER heard anyone say otherwise, but that is not to say that it can’t and does not happen. I am aware of these doctors being approached by defense lawyers and then telling them, “I’m sorry, but I think this is a clear case of abuse.” Just as there are conditions that mimic child abuse, abuse itself obviously mimics the mimics. Sometimes the correct answer is “I don’t know,” not “It’s not any of these, so it must be abuse, and the last person standing when the music stopped must be guilty.” If you don’t believe this happens, you ARE a denialist.

Before someone jumps on me, it was supposed to read “the last thing I would WANT to do is free an actual child abuser…”

Since it appears that no one wishes to discuss this anymore, I will simply leave you with this:

Dr. Mark Dias is one of the most vocal proponents of SBS, and seems to have a firm understanding of the literature on both sides of the SBS debate, in my opinion. How does he explain the shaking mechanism in light of the new information? First Dr. Dias talks about how insect flight seemed to violate classic Newtonian principles of flight, and therefore it went unexplained for centuries. But we knew that insects fly, because we observed them flying. He then states, “Similarly, understanding the pathophysiological role of shaking in AHT will likely require a quantum change in our thinking from the classical biomechanical paradigms of the 1970s to a model that takes into account new observations regarding metabolic pathways, the role of brainstem and/or upper cervical spinal cord injury, or other factors yet undiscovered . . . The thrust of current research should be to better understand why this occurs. . .”

In other words, it’s our understanding of physics that’s the problem. Any biomechanical and animal experiments which do not produce the expected results must therefore be flawed, and we should be trying to produce experiments which give us the results we expect. After Dr. Robert Block posted a slide saying “M=FA” at a recent conference on SBS, I would have to agree that there is a lack of understanding of physics by the proponents of the SBS hypothesis.

Another supporter of the SBS diagnosis testified at a trial, stating, “the whole point of biomechanic studies is to create what we know happens and biomechanic models have yet to recreate what happens in nature and once those biomechanic models create what we know happens, they will be very valuable for us …we do know that children are shaken and have traumatic brain injury. …Not saying that every child with that trauma is shaken. I’m just saying that those that are shaken have been and so if we can’t create that in the lab then the lab really doesn’t tell us much.”

Perhaps we also “know” that vaccines cause autism. Perhaps we also “know” that chiropractic improves digestion. (Ad infinitum)

Finally, Orac. I’ve begun to realize that you are not skeptic at all. You simply agree with many of the favorite topics of prominent skeptics. There is a difference. Personally, I don’t mind if you attack the notion that vaccines cause SBS, but to denigrate someone out-of-hand, regardless of their vast scientific achievement in the area discussed, is not skepticism, but denialism. Refer to your own words in Post #95 to which I would also I might also add this quote, again in your own words:

“What almost certainly happened is that [the author] unwisely jumped into an area about which he did not know enough to distinguish valid scientific arguments from denialist pseudoscience.”

There is a lot of both in the shaken baby debate, on both sides. I would suggest a bit more circumspection, but that just isn’t you, is it?

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