Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Pseudoscience Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

The “Drs. Wolfson” attack the parents of Riley Hughes, who died of pertussis

Riley Hughes died of pertussis, and his father is trying to encourage vaccination against pertussis. The “Drs. Wolfson” object. They’re antivaccine quacks, and they blame the victim.

As I was going through my folder of woo (that is, a folder where I keep links to articles and studies that represent potential blogging material), I came across one of the saddest stories I’ve ever seen. It’s from last month and about a letter written by the father of a boy who died of whooping cough. The child was Riley Hughes, who was only 32 days old when he died, and the father is Greg Hughes, from Western Australia. He wrote the letter three years ago when his son died and read it at his funeral. He shared it a week and a half ago on Facebook:

This passage brought a tear to my eye:

Much like myself, you ate, slept, grunted, and ate some more. Whilst other babies woke up their parents by wailing and shrieking, you gently snuffled in your bassinet and were perfectly content, and loved having your back patted as you drifted off blissfully.

Even when you decided to wait until I’d removed your nappy before spray-painting me with impeccable aim, I quickly forgave you upon looking into your enormous blue eyes as you gazed at me, your strong neck working overtime to ensure you didnt miss a minute of the action.

Life was perfect. Our family of four was complete.

And then…. you were gone.

I stand here completely bereft of words suitable to convey the enormity of loss I’m currently experiencing. I’m devastated, angry, heartbroken, empty, lost, confused, bewildered. My world has been thrown into chaos.

But somehow, as you always seemed to do whenever I’m feeling down, you’ve helped my find solace.

The name Riley means courageous or valiant, and in 32 days you’ve achieved more than I ever could have dreamt to achieve in 32 lifetimes.

I want to be mad at you for leaving me behind; my house empty, my three year old bossy, my wife likewise. But I find an inner comfort in the fact that you were put here with a purpose.

You’ve changed the world in such a short period of time and you’ve made incredible changes to all of our lives.

The Hughes family have said they want to ensure that Riley Hughes’ passing was not in vain by educating families on the importance of vaccination, which they have done by partnering with the Immunisation Foundation of Australia to tell Riley’s story on the Light for Riley Project:

During his last few days with us, we discovered that women in the UK, USA, Belgium and New Zealand were being recommended a whooping cough vaccine in their third trimester. This vaccine, usually given between 28-32 weeks gestation, provides the unborn baby with the necessary antibodies to protect them from this terrible disease.

Since the introduction of this pregnancy vaccine, the UK has seen a reduction in infant deaths from pertussis by over 90%.

Two days after Riley’s death, our state government announced the introduction of a program where these third trimester booster shots would be offered free of charge to pregnant women.

Other states soon followed, and now all states and territories in Australia have free whooping cough booster shots for pregnant women.

The support by the Australian government continued with the introduction of the official No Jab, No Pay arrangement on the 1st January 2016. The arrangement is in relation to parents who chose not to vaccinate their children now being ineligible for a number of government rebates.

I’ve discussed the maternal Tdap vaccination before. It’s safe and effective and, contrary to the claims of antivaxers, not associated with autism in the child.

Unfortunately, reactions of antivaxers to the Hughes family letter are not only predictable, but nasty. For instance, take a look at what the “Drs. Wolfson” have to say about it. The Drs. Wolfson are Dr. Jack Wolfson, a cardiologist in Phoenix, and his wife Not-a-Doctor Heather Wolfson, a chiropractor. (I know, I know. I usually use “Not-a-Doctor” for naturopaths, because they like to put “ND” after their names, but the title certainly also applies to chiropractors.) Of cours,e I’ve written about Dr. Wolfson before. He’s rabidly antivaccine, frequently spewing false balance about antivaccine views and heaping contempt upon the parents of immunosuppressed children who express concern about unvaccinated children. Yes, he’s a real piece of work.

If you don’t believe me, check out this Facebook post he wrote in response to Greg Hughes’ sharing of his letter about his dead son:

After disingenuously (and very unconvincingly) stating that their heart “goes out to this family after their baby dies,” the “Drs. Wolfson” get down and dirty:

But why does anyone think the answer is to vaccinate the masses?

Um, because it works? Yes, I know that the acellular vaccine against pertussis is imperfect. I know that there can be waning immunity, a problem that antivaxers like to invoke to use the “Nirvana fallacy” to argue, in essence, that if a vaccine isn’t perfect it’s useless and we shouldn’t use it at all. However, it’s quite clear that vaccinating against pertussis protects against pertussis and that vaccinating mothers against pertussis during their pregnancy also protects against pertussis in the newborn.

Now here’s where the “Drs. Wolfson” go totally off the rails:

Who treated the baby? Did they use dangerous fever reducers like ibuprofen and acetamenophen? The sickness system with IV antibiotics and radiation procedures like a chest x-ray?

So you’re saying that pediatricians shouldn’t use antibiotics like erythromycin to treat pertussis? Funny, but pediatricians would disagree. As for chest x-rays, Wolfson makes it sound as though the amount of radiation in a single (or even several) chest X-rays would make the difference between life and death in a child with pertussis. That is despicable bullshit.

Next up:

Or did the baby see a chiropractor and get adjusted or see another holistic doctor? Did the baby get vitamin C IV therapy and Argentyn Silver? What about vitamin A? Vitamin D? Sunshine?

What vaccines did this baby get at birth that further weakened and compromised it’s immune system from the get go? Vitamin K shot? Antibiotic eye ointment?

Chiropractic can’t treat pertussis. Vitamin C won’t treat pertussis. Colloidal silver won’t treat pertussis (although too much of it might turn you blue). The neonatal vitamin K shot is not only safe, but it prevents hemorrhagic disease of the newborn. Vitamin A, vitamin D, and sunshine would not have prevented pertussis. The “Drs. Wolfson” are again trying to use specious claims to imply without evidence that Riley was vulnerable and could have been saved if only his parents had believed in and subjected him to the sort of unproven “prevention” that he believes in. In doing this, he is trying to blame the victim, blame the parents, for the death of their son. There’s only one word for that: unspeakably despicable.

Next up:

What was the mom’s health like in utero? Did she receive the Tdap and Flu shot during her pregnancy? Mom health equals baby health.

Yeah, like the “Drs. Wolfson” think that the flu or Tdap vaccine during pregnancy is a good thing. The whole point of the campaign that the Hughes family is supporting is to educate parents that mothers should receive the Tdap vaccine between 28-32 weeks gestation.

The “Drs. Wolfson” get even more vile and despicable:

Was baby breast fed?

Was the baby born at home or in a building designed to house the sickest of the sick (hospital)?

What chemicals was baby exposed to? Toxic laundry, dryer sheets/fabric softener, personal care, mattress, household chemicals?

New paint in the “baby room”

This baby and all others like them do not die of a vaccine deficiency.
They die because of a toxic, polluted world.

Whooping cough vaccine is not very effective.

It is not the answer.

So. Many. Fallacies. For instance, yes, breast feeding is good. However, it’s no panacea that could be expected prevent death from pertussis. As for all the rambling about “toxins,” that’s just misdirection to try to blame Riley Hughes’ death on something other than pertussis or to imply that the parents did something wrong when they didn’t. Yes, it’s another transparent attempt at blaming the victim, something that antivaxers and alternative medicine practitioners are so good at. Indeed, the “Drs. Wolfson” make that explicit in the conclusion of their little Facebook screed:

The answer is to make the population stronger with healthy living, not tear it down with chemicals in the name of artificial immunity.

Everyone who has a baby needs to have a chiropractor on speed dial and one who is experienced in functional medicine and all the life saving supplements parents should have stocked in their pantries for what should be little bumps in the road for a newborn.

Note the common antivax trope that immunity from vaccines is somehow “artificial” while “natural immunity” is to be preferred. Of course, the problem with this is that “natural immunity” is not necessarily permanent and, to get “natural immunity,” you have to suffer through the disease. As for the rest, if you’re not terrified by the very thought of a baby being “adjusted” by a chiropractor, you should be.

The bottom line is that the “Drs. Wolfson” are vile quacks who blame and attack victims of antivaccine quackery.

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.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

79 replies on “The “Drs. Wolfson” attack the parents of Riley Hughes, who died of pertussis”

Thank you for finding that, but it only makes my opinion of the Wolfsons worse than it was before.

They’ll always get lower. How else can they keep scaring people into accepting their lies, irrationality and snake-oil?

The Drs. Wolfson are vile and repulsive. They want your children to contract measles–in January 2015 Wolfson told a reporter “”We should be getting measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox. These are the rites of our children.” The Wolfsons let their unvaccinated children contract pertussis in 2012 (one as an infant) and varicella in 2018–and because their children survived they have “proofs” that the anti-vax crap they peddle works. The Wolfsons hold and speak at anti-vaccine seminars. They even have attempted to start a school here in Arizona for unvaccinated children (thankfully the online fundraiser failed). The DO Wolfson shouldn’t have a license but his board repeatedly and incorrectly considers what he does merely “free speech”. Most recently they are headlining what has to be one of 2018’s most anti-vax seminars in Newark on Sept 23 ridiculously titled “Let’s Take Back Our Children’s Health” whose lineup included the Wolfsons, Del Bigtree and anti-vax pediatrician Larry Palevsky ( ). Truly disgusting and despicable.

We should be getting measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox. These are the rites of our children.

This attitude infuriates me, but for a tangential reason. There is a belief that bullying is a rite of passage that turns boys into men. It is a belief that is still all too common. And speaking from personal experience, it’s complete and utter horse elbows. I was bullied and all it did was give me PTSD. Not terrible PTSD, but still.
The idea that suffering builds character is a noxious, poisonous belief.

“The idea that suffering builds character is a noxious, poisonous belief.”

Suffering does shape character. The idea that the result is always going to be positive is absurd.

Both of these repugnant human beings should be stuck in an iron lung for a couple of days, whilst, and at the same time, being afflicted with Shingles – preferably involving eyes and hair. After they get out, they can jump into Dara O’Briain’s sack where they may be beaten with sticks until they are as crippled as a late friend of mine was, from polio. Fortunately for them, I am not in charge of the universe.

Yes to all of this in a heartbeat. Any maybe a nasty case of the mumps too, the kind that causes gonad swelling? Or is that too unkind to wish on people who berate the parents of a dead baby, who lecture people immediately after a serious traffic accident?

Nope. Doesn’t seem unkind enough.

@ Dr Chris:

I notice that nearly all of the participants stand to make money from this event: either selling services or creating media buzz. I’ve listened to several of Del Bigtree’s HighWire shows and am not sure what his plans are: is he trying out for a spot on Natural News or PRN?
I am tempted to attend the seminar although I have taken a vow not to spend money on woo. We’ll see.

concerning the dis-informational aspect of anti-vax/ alt med, I’ve learned that the aforesaid brave maverick alties often make use of material/ presenters from RT to illustrate how bad mainstream media is. Right, THAT RT. More on this later.

Thank you Dr. CH… I have a special kind of hate of parents who think a child should get sick. In 1994 I dealt with three kids getting chicken pox, including a six month old infant. No one got much sleep that month. Fortunately the baby does not remember, but they have a higher chance of getting shingles due to stress since they just started graduate studies.

Then there was the oldest getting rotavirus. Calling 911, and ambulance rides to an emergency department are not fun. Though I cannot say enough about the fire fighters who responded the ambulance crew and the kind medical care at the hospital. Not that the Wolfson’s care about that.

I do not have kind thoughts towards those that think kids should get sick.

Chris–these schmucks live where I live (in AZ), so they do their worst harm in my backyard. Amazingly Wolfson was recently on a local TV station pitching “natural” sunscreens (mostly he just thinks you should get sunburned b/c in Wolfson’s burnt out brain sunshine is a cure for cancer. Idiot. Mind you these are the same TV stations that will help the health department get out the word when there’s a measles or pertussis outbreak in Arizona, but somehow they won’t keep this bozo off the air.

Thanks for the link.

Considering the increase in vaccine coverage rates when personal belief exemptions are reduced in California and the failure to end the measles epidemic in Italy as quickly as possible it’s clear that legislators have a potentially large impact (positive or negative) on vaccination programs. Thus, it’s regrettable that an anti-vaccine Governor may soon be elected in Oklahoma…

Two things: Firstly – Whooping cough in a tiny baby is not a “little bump” it’s a full blown neonatal emergency. And secondly – how does this doctor think that a chiropractor could successfully treat pertussis in a infant; because if he can prove that spinal manipulations can stop a bacterial infection he just won the Nobel prize for medicine.

I suspect it’s not about being anywhere near correct for the Wolfsons. It’s about the $1800 initial patient visit if you see him for a “holistic” cardiology consult. It’s about all the testing they’ll pile on you. It’s about all the untested supplements they’ll push on you, many of which cost more than prescription meds. It’s about drawing you in to their quackery and showing how “pioneering” they are by speaking out against Big Med and Big Pharma. It’s also about having an out when the vaccines and diseases they rail against actually kill babies. The Wolfson’s screed against Baby Riley is that out–they’re escape for having to admit that their ilk are to blame for this.

Thats it isn’t it. I find it humorous that this man is a cardiologist. It’s not the area I work in but cardiology it pretty tech heavy in diagnostics – angiograms and ultrasounds and such and it uses a lot of drugs in the treatment of heart conditions. So how does he reconcile that with his anti big pharma / medical establishment scree? If he is eschewing research based treatments in favour of vitamins and supplements I’d be interested to see how thoes of this patient’s who have serious conditions fare.

Shelly–he’s totally against anything in cardiology that he can’t bill for from the confines of his office. So he rails against CT/angio and any forms of xrays as though we’ll all turn into mutant monsters from them. His “The Paleo Cardiologist” book is so anti-American College of Cardiology that it’s surprising they still let him be a fellow of the ACC. Basically he posits you can have a healthy heart by eating dirt and whatever crap he stuffs in his completely untested supplements.

What!? This past week my kid had to go in for his schedule echocardiogram. It was to make sure his heart muscle did not regrow after it was removed by open heart surgery six years ago due to obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

What kind of idiot thinks that a genetic heart disorder is prevented by diet? Especially the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes (mostly because it is not diagnosed early enough… hence the call for universal EKGs for middle and/or high school athletes).

I am seriously glad that this idiot Wolfson isn’t my cardiologist (actually, there is no way the NHS would employ him: don’t you just hate that nasty, socialised healthcare system?), as my cardiac problems are in no way related to diet, lifestyle etc (genetics are the most likely culprit) and the horrible Big Pharma drugs keep me alive…And as for how the buggery bollocks he would have established exactly what is happening WITHOUT an angiogram and MRI is beyond me.

Idiot! And a dangerous one, ‘cos I’d be dead under his “care”.

A friend of mine’s daughter contracted pertussis at three weeks old. Thankfully not only did her daughter survive (after a very long stay in the hospital), but suffered no lifelong adverse effects and is now a healthy teenager. When my friend hears about anti-vaxxers, she gets murderous and I can’t blame her. I feel the same way and have made it a lifelong mission to counter anti-vaxxers when I encounter them. I have little tolerance for idiots anyway.

These horrific doctors should be forced to work in 6 months in an ICU. If they had to practice what they preached, rather than bloviate on social media, they might learn a little humility.

As a residenr in internal medicine and cardiology, Jack Wolfsohn would have spent a lot of time working in an ICU. Guess it wasn’t his cup of tea, since he now does so-called holistic cardiology. Let’s see: cash-only initial assessment, extra $ from his supplement business, no fatiguing night or weekend on-call duties, no stressful life-and-death patient encounters. He’s got a nice soft gig going, why bother with humility?

So is he lazy, or did he fail to make the cut for the cardiology position he wanted, and so turned his back on everything out of spite?

Holy hateful pricks. Lets try to take someones lreally not good very bad day and make it as bad as we possibly can through idiocy.

There are days that I really hate humanity.

I just reserve my hate for quacks like the Wolfsons, though cancer-quacks are also very high on my list.
Hating all humanity is a bit to far.

The limits of the acellular pertussis vaccine also don’t apply the same way to Tdap in pregnancy. Waning immunity isn’t an issue there, and it’s more effective than in other uses.

I have been arguing with a rabid antivaxxer on FB who referenced a Dr. Gill in Boston as having written a paper supporting his cause. The study doesn’t, of course but you actually have to READ the paper to understand that.

This is not Wolfson’s first transgression but he has no incentive to stop unless a medical board acts like they did with Dr Sears.

Other than making sure most are vaccinated, what was Dr. Gill’s suggestion for improvement? And no, I cannot read the paper, mostly because the link came up with “Page Not Found.”

@Chris: To get that link to work, remove the &quot at the end. As for the suggestions:

“With the introduction and expanded use of aP vaccines into the population failing to control the rise in pertussis incidence, it seems increasingly likely that radical solutions will be required. This may include the resumption of wP vaccinations in some part of the infant schedule, or even the development of an entirely new pertussis vaccine.”

Sorry for my botched href Chris. Dr. Gill advocated a multi-pronged approach.
A new vaccine
Return to the whole cell vaccine

Here is the a new link and, in case I screw the link up again, the conclusion:

The resurgence of pertussis likely has many contributing factors. And while detection bias, poor persistence, and leaky vaccine efficacy due to evolutionary shifts likely contribute to varying degrees in the pertussis resurgence, it seems far more likely that the key factor is instead immunologic. As with the conjugated protein-polysaccharide vaccines, the overall effectiveness of a pertussis vaccine when used at scale in a population is a function of direct and indirect effects. The lack of sterilizing mucosal immunity following aP vaccinations appears to be a critical limitation to these vaccine’s overall effectiveness, and in our view may be the most important factor of all in accounting for the resurgence.

If so, the implications of this inference are quite profound. The resurgence of pertussis in the past 2 decades is at once a public health and a public relations crisis. Vaccine hesitancy rates are rising, and the population is increasingly skeptical about professional pronouncements regarding vaccine policy. With the introduction and expanded use of aP vaccines into the population failing to control the rise in pertussis incidence, it seems increasingly likely that radical solutions will be required. This may include the resumption of wP vaccinations in some part of the infant schedule, or even the development of an entirely new pertussis vaccine. While it is too soon to know how this will play out, understanding how any new or improved pertussis vaccine affects mucosal immunity will be essential.

Thank you, Mike. It is much like the multi-pronged approach in the attempt to eradicate polio from the planet. There have been many discussions about using IPV versus OPV depending on country, some I have heard on This Week in Virology.

Though the one big issue is resistance to vaccination. Which is also the problem with pertussis. Though fortunately in the USA there don’t seem to be any goons on motorcycles shooting at medical care workers who vaccinate.

Despite the strategies about which vaccine to use, even with a new improved version, we cannot control pertussis if there are still those like the Wolfsons going around telling lies.

One of the big problems is that even after coughing your lungs out by an actual pertussis infection that immunity could wane in just five years. Okay, it may not wane for twenty years, but you know there will be a population where it is gone sooner:
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2005 May;24(5 Suppl):S58-61.
Duration of immunity against pertussis after natural infection or vaccination.

It would be unrealistic to create a vaccine that provides better immunity than the disease. So no matter what strategy or new vaccine is used, the best way to reduce the incidence of pertussis is to make sure more people are vaccinated. You can see this by this comparison of several countries: Impact of anti-vaccine movements on pertussis control: the untold story

And just as a point of history, increase in pertussis rates started over thirty years ago. As you can see by that paper there were active anti-vaccine movements in several countries. The one in the UK inspired some Americans to get into the act, prompting the scaremongering “documentary” about the DTP vaccineby Lea Thompson in 1982, and then Barbara Loe Fisher getting into the act:

This timeline is quite personal for me. My oldest child turns thirty years old tomorrow, and on Friday will be the thirtieth anniversary of his first seizure. Because of his neonatal seizures he was denied a DTP vaccine, and only got a DT vaccine. This was a concern because there was a pertussis epidemic in our county!

Yes, I did ask the parent of every child he came into contact with if they had all their vaccines. I did encounter one mommy/baby group (La Leche League) where one stick-up-her-posterior jerk claimed her doctor said the vaccines were not needed. I never went back to that group again, and it was not just the risk to my kid: that woman was just really unpleasant. Apparently that is a common trait among the anti-vax folks.

Fortunately my son got a pertussis vaccine with a Tdap about ten years ago. He’ll probably get another with the ten year booster. That is important since he also has genetic heart disorder.

You guys might be interested in this article.

A vaccine hesitant mom “spaced out” her 18 month old son’s vaccines, and as a consequence he got pertussis.

She posted a heartfelt call to other mothers not to repeat her mistake, and to keep to the schedule. It went viral. Here’s a link to an article:

Luckily, the baby is doing much, much better.

Oh, good grief. I am so glad my kid did not get pertussis, especially during the time he kept getting croup (four hospitalizations!). Pertussis could have killed him!

Chris, I referenced this same study by Gill while arguing on FB to refute and antivax moron who proudly touted Gill’s study as a call to stop vaccinating. When I pointed out the study did no such thing, he left.

Panacea, I saw that story but hadn’t heard of the child’s improved status. Good.

These disgusting rabid anti-vaxxers like the Wolfson duo attack victims like the Hughes because they want to remain in denial about the devastating effects VPDs do have on children, contrary to what they espouse. That and the Wolfsons ally themselves with anti-vaxx parents who believe their children are vaccine-injured; they want the same attention and legitimacy that Light for Riley gets. I’m going to guess that the Hughes could do without the attention and the vile attacks from anti-vaxxers.

Any ‘doctors’ who spout evil claptrap like this should have their license revoked, and be banned from ever dealing with patients again in any official setting.
People like this are pure poison for proper health care.

I used to see a chiropractor for neck and back pain about 20 years ago. My insurance company sent me to one after a car accident, and my pain did not resolve on its own. I found it helpful, so I continued seeing one when I moved to another state.

Then the guy started going on about how the spine affects things like digestion, which got my BS detector going on full force.

It was when he then told me that vaginal deliveries always cause neck problems, and that a chiropractor should be in every delivery room to do an adjustment at birth that I went, “oh HELL no” and walked away.

Funny how my neck pain never came back.

You’re not alone. As late as last year, I tried homeopathic and naturopathic “medicine” when I caught the occasional cold or flu. Looking back, I can see how that crap didn’t really help me feel better.

It wasn’t until I started reading this site and other skeptic blogs when I began to question the efficacy of this crap, then eventually came around to acknowledge that Goop is garbage. And not only are they and other “alternative wellness gurus” hawking overpriced garbage, but they are also enabling far more dangerous quackery by legitimizing the very anti-vaxx/anti-science ideology that’s actually hurting people.

Agreed. There’s no question that I simply got better as opposed to adjustments actually doing anything for me.

I tried it because I didn’t want opioids and NSAIDs weren’t helping. I can see why people fall for it; they think it helps so they promote it.

I might still be going to a chiropractor if it weren’t for the stuff that was obviously woo. These guys rake in a lot of cash. At the time, I was paying $40 per visit ($10 co pay, rest billed to insurance). I realized how quickly that can bank up for a practice that has 10 rooms or more. Fill those rooms up and turn them over three times per hour, and oh Lord how the money rolls in.

I used to see a naturopath too and stopped after several years (thankfully I didn’t really pay for it – long story that – but at least my pocketbook didn’t suffer that much). I found the remedies given didn’t really work and in fact, one that I took for allergies made me very sick, and a remedy for a chronic sore throat didn’t work at all (actually, to this naturopath’s credit, when it was apparent that the allergy stuff made me sick, he told me to stop taking it right away, and with the throat remedy he told me to get to my GP pronto because it was likely strep throat, and he was right, it was – but he was an exception not the rule (none of these were homeopathic remedies though – he didn’t really bother much with that nonsense, herbal remedies, yeah, but they either made me sick or didn’t work)). I used to also see a chiropractor who was more of a technical guy than anything. Turns out, to help my knee, hip and back problems, I needed to lose weight (which he did encourage and said would likely help me out a lot). Then he retired and I couldn’t find another one that wasn’t full of bullcaca. Thankfully I did not have terrible experiences in my adventures in woo, but there were enough bad eggs and weirdos out there that made me realise maybe I needed to re-evaluate my thoughts on “alternative medicine”, especially when some friends started going into areas of woo that had me very concerned and I realised I needed to be more discerning. Glad I did. My pocketbook and my life have been so much better since I stopped bothering with all of that garbage.

I spend many hours a week listening to and reading anti-vaxxers and alt med luddites so what the Drs Wolfson offer , although vile, despicable and inhuman, is nothing novel but reacting directly to grieving parents may be setting a new low. Let’s see if any of the usual suspects follow up and continue their nonsense. I wouldn’t be surprised.

Greg Hughes’ writings and support of his state’s free vaccination are truly admirable: I hope he will know how much we are affected by his efforts. Perhaps many children will be helped in AUS because he chose to speak up. Some studies suggest that parents are more likely to listen to other parents’ input about vaccination than they are to “official” sources like governmental information and medical advice: thus a parent who experienced such a horrendous loss and is so articulate and science based is a valuable resource. I hope he is heard outside of AUS as well.

I remember this little turd. I think you blogged about him back in early 2015 when the Disneyland Measles outbreak was going on and my baby girl was still too young to have her first MMR shot and here I was, surfing the net trying not to freak out about all the crazy people exposing their kids willingly to diseases because they couldn’t be bothered to vaccinate them for (stupid) reasons. I think that was actually the first blog I read on here.

I’m horrified when an actual doctor (the cardiologist…not the “not a doctor”) says crap like this. So much trust is placed in those who are in the medical profession, and it kills me how some people just piss it away. 🙁

Although reading about the Wolfsohns makes me feel sick, I do have to laugh about their claim to be “holistic”. They come across as cruel arrogant rageheads. Holistic indeed.

The Wolfsons fit right in with the era of Trumpism: reality-detachment, denialism, conspiracy theory, messianic complex, con-artist corruption (more supplements!!), vicious attacks on anyone who dares to take exception with their BS.

So Kevin Stitt, a major party candidate for governor of OK, is an antivaxer. He’s a Trumpublican, of course. He won the GOP primary by attacking his opponent “as not being supportive enough of the president or his immigration policies,” and he has Trump’s “complete and total Endorsement!”

If you are somehow unconcerned about the fact the entire GOP is backing a corrupt, fascist, racist, NPD-addled wacko Putin-lackey, then just for the science and the sake of the sake of all the Riley Hugheses, get your ass out on election day, and vote for the Democrats.

sadmar, although I won’t comment on the possible NPD part,
I have seriously begun to wonder if the Donald has cognitive issues perhaps related to illness like CVD or a related condition, not AD. If you heard him speak on tape about 10-12 years ago
( even on the infamous pussy/ bus tape), he sounds quicker, uses more words, less repetition, is more gregarious and livelier
Tapes of him in the 1990s- early 2000s: he sounds like an entertainer and – believe it or not- he can be clever.

Yeah, pretty much everyone who’s know him a long time has commented on this, and the changes in his language use are obvious.

As far as the NPD goes, I’ll argue that applying the “Goldwater Rule” to Trump now is un-scientific, or at least anti-rational. It’s a question of what constitutes a valid quantity and quality of evidence. Anyone suggesting in 1964 that Goldwater had psych issues – based on the public record – had little more than the text of Goldwater’s speeches and other policy statements. Heck, they didn’t even have videotape in 1964, much less Twitter. Two years in, with the assembled testimony of a handful of insider tell-all books added to what’s observable daily on the Twitter. there’s MUCH MORE evidence on Trump’s personality available than you could ever get in an in-person psych examination.

You might as well doubt the earth is round as doubt Trump has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

“I’ve discussed the maternal Tdap vaccination before. It’s safe and effective and, contrary to the claims of antivaxers, not associated with autism in the child.”

Becerra et al.(1)⁠ recently published a study on prenatal Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccination and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

As described previously(2)⁠, ignoring causal mechanisms result in flawed studies.

This Tdap ASD study(1)⁠ was based on Sanofi Pasteur’s Adacel Tdap vaccine alone and on data collected at a few Kaiser facilities in Southern California alone.

The type and quantity of target proteins in Adacel are “Each 0.5 mL dose contains 5 Lf tetanus toxoid (T), 2 Lf diphtheria toxoid (d), and acellular pertussis antigens [2.5 mcg detoxified pertussis toxin (PT), 5 mcg filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA), 3 mcg pertactin (PRN), 5 mcg fimbriae types 2 and 3 (FIM)]” (3)⁠.

GSK’s Boostrix Tdap vaccine package insert says (4)⁠“Each 0.5-mL dose is formulated to contain 5 Lf of tetanus toxoid, 2.5 Lf of diphtheria toxoid, 8 mcg of inactivated PT, 8 mcg of FHA, and 2.5 mcg of pertactin (69 kiloDalton outer membrane protein).”

Mostly the same proteins but somewhat different quantities in each vaccine.

The authors’ ASSUMPTION is that the target proteins in Adacel are the potential cause of autism and therefore the subject of their study. If their assumption is true, target proteins being standardized, Adacel would be somewhat representative of all Tdap vaccines (although the protein quantities differ) and thus would be a candidate to perform the study as they did.

However, a major, widely prevalent ASD biomarker (70-75% of patients test positive) is the folate receptor alpha antibody (FRAA)(5)⁠. These FRAA bind with higher affinity to bovine FRA than human FRA(6)⁠. These FRAA are induced directed against bovine FRA but cross-react and bind to human FRA in the choroid plexus, block folate uptake and cause ASD(5)⁠. The majority of FRAA are of the IgG4 subclass(6)⁠. IgG4 antibodies are known to cross the placenta. Maternal FRAA have thus been shown to cross the placenta, block folate uptake in the fetus and cause ASD.(7)⁠

One or more of bacteria used to prepare the Tdap vaccine are grown in casein or casamino acids containing growth media. The Tdap vaccine therefore contains residual quantities of non-target proteins, bovine milk proteins in this case, used to derive the casein or casamino acids. The residual non-target bovine FRA protein, a bovine milk protein in the vaccines are therefore an obvious source for the induction of FRAA.

Any Tdap vaccine administration, including prenatal Tdap vaccine administration could therefore cause the induction of maternal FRAA. These residual proteins however, are contaminants that are by definition, NOT standardized, NOT regulated and NOT characterized/reported by the vaccine maker.

Consider the H1N1 vaccine in Europe. The vaccines contained standardized quantities of the target hemaggluttinin (HA) proteins. The vaccines also contained residual quantities of unregulated contaminant non-target proteins – H1N1 nucleoproteins. The contaminant quantity varied from vendor to vendor due to their process. The result was disastrous. The Pandemrix vaccine induced numerous cases of narcolepsy. The Arepanrix and Focetria vaccines performed better. So even though these vaccines were considered equivalent, the outcomes were devastatingly different. The contaminant H1N1 nucleoproteins induced cross-reacting antibodies directed against human hypocretin receptors due to molecular mimicry, thus inducing narcolepsy.(8)⁠

Residual bovine casein, a bovine milk protein, measured in just five samples of Adacel showed a twofold difference in quantity (8-17ng/ml) (9)⁠. Similarly, there is a huge variation in residual ovalbumin in chick egg derived influenza vaccines 0.3-38.3ug/ml(10)⁠. This is to be expected because the quantity of non-target proteins in vaccines are unregulated.

The residual quantity of bovine FRA in Adacel stock used at Kaiser facilities (sources of study data) are an unknown. Whether that residual quantity of bovine FRA is representative of the quantity in worldwide Tdap vaccines is an unknown. Therefore, the study results cannot be claimed to be representative and applicable to all Tdap vaccines worldwide. The authors’ fundamental ASSUMPTION does not hold true. For this reason, their conclusion that prenatal Tdap vaccines in general are not associated with autism is not supported by the evidence.

Given the above, the authors should retract the article.

If the authors had researched the details I have provided, it would have been obvious to them that they need a completely different study type and study design to investigate this matter.

Even in this study, the authors describe that follow-up was on average 6 months less (inexplicably) in the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated group. Therefore a critical period where ASD diagnosis is most likely to occur, was unaccounted, introducing bias. This could have changed the outcome of the study and show that prenatal Adacel was indeed associated with autism.

Further, as noted in the beginning, 75% of ASD patients test positive for FRAA. Therefore, maternal FRAA induced ASD may only be 25% of the cases. Then there is also non-FRAA mediated, maternal autism related (MAR) autism autoantibody related mechanisms(11)⁠. So if accounted properly, even a small number of cases diagnosed during that 6 month period could have altered the outcome of the study.


Becerra-Culqui TA, Getahun D, Chiu V, Sy LS, Tseng HF. Prenatal Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis Vaccination and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Pediatrics. United States; 2018 Aug 13;e20180120.
Arumugham V. Epidemiological studies that ignore mechanism of disease causation are flawed and mechanistic evidence demonstrates that vaccines cause autism [Internet]. 2017. Available from:
Pasteur S. Adacel Package Insert [Internet]. 2005. Available from:
Glaxo Smith Kline. Boostrix Package Insert [Internet]. 2005. Available from:
Frye RE, Sequeira JM, Quadros E V, James SJ, Rossignol D a. Cerebral folate receptor autoantibodies in autism spectrum disorder. Mol Psychiatry. 2012;18(3):369–81.
Ramaekers VT, Sequeira JM, Blau N, Quadros E V. A milk-free diet downregulates folate receptor autoimmunity in cerebral folate deficiency syndrome. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2008;50(5):346–52.
Frye RE, Sequeira JM, Quadros E, Rossignol DA. Folate Receptor Alpha Autoantibodies Modulate Thyroid Function in Autism Spectrum Disorer. North Am J Med Sci. 2014;7(1):1–7.
Ahmed SS, Volkmuth W, Duca J, Corti L, Pallaoro M, Pezzicoli A, et al. Antibodies to influenza nucleoprotein cross-react with human hypocretin receptor 2 (ABSTRACT ONLY). Sci Transl Med. 2015;7(294):294ra105–294ra105.
Kattan JD, Cox AL, Nowak-Wegrzyn A, Gimenez G, Bardina L, Sampson HA, et al. Allergic reactions to diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccines among children with milk allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011;Conference(var.pagings):AB238.
Goldis M, Bardina L, Lin J, Sampson HA. Evaluation of Egg Protein Contamination in Influenza Vaccines. J Allergy Clin Immunol. Elsevier; 2016 Jan 9;125(2):AB129.
Arumugham V. Strong protein sequence alignment between autoantigens involved in maternal autoantibody related autism and vaccine antigens [Internet]. 2017. Available from:

Vinu is a heartless idiot.

Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Though the threads are swollen
Keep them comments trollin’,

Cherry pick!
(Head em’ up!)
Move goalposts!
(Move ’em on!)
More insults!
(Head em’ up!)
Make stuff up!
(Paste ’em in!)
Change topics!
(Cut em’ out!)
Whine some more!
Paste ’em in,
Keep trollin’, trollin’, trollin’
Though they’re disaprovin’
Keep them comments trollin”,
Don’t try to understand ’em
Just rope, laugh, and ignore ’em
Soon we’ll be discussin’ right without ’em

Once again, you recite a bunch of P.R.AT.T.s that have been addressed and dealt with before. Repeating the same refuted arguments over and over does not make you right, it just makes you more wrong.

C’mon, be fair to Vinu: he only cited his own garbage twice in that lot, which is a lower proportion than usual.

And then there was Rossignol, Bradstreet,…& Frye (2012). “Hyperbaric oxygen treatment in autism spectrum disorders”.
Bradstreet, … & Rossignol (2010). “Biomarker-Guided Interventions of Clinically Relevant Conditions Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder”.
Rossignol & Bradstreet (2008). “Evidence of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism and Implications for Treatment”.
Bradstreet, … & Rossignol (2007). “Spironolactone might be a desirable immunologic and hormonal intervention in autism spectrum disorders”.

And of course Rossignol is a regular at the “AutismOne” scamboree.

Just saying, when so much of the ‘evidence’ for this folate brainfart is just the latest grift from a serial charlatan, it’s not a good look..

@Smut Clyde,

I was wondering if this folate thing caused acne or make pattern baldness?


It sounds like Rissignol is taking after the Geiers.

The contaminant H1N1 nucleoproteins induced cross-reacting antibodies directed against human hypocretin receptors due to molecular mimicry, thus inducing narcolepsy.(8)

Vinu’s “acting like a real medical student researcher” dress-up game might be slightly more convincing if he had also numbered the references that these numbers are supposed to be citing.

if he had also numbered the references that these numbers are supposed to be citing

I think that might actually be an, erm, feature of this WP theme.

Apparently he doesn’t believe his first reference.

Prenatal Tdap vaccination was not associated with an increased ASD risk. We support recommendations to vaccinate pregnant women to protect infants, who are at highest risk of death after pertussis infection.

@vinu Did you not get it last time: You yourself showed that vaccine preparation process reduces casein from grams to nanograms. This would require FOLR concentration of grams, which is patently absurb.
You could not explain why autism is more prevalent amongst boys. You cited a paper that involved women older that 39 year old. Cite a paper about children instead.
(Believe me, I will repeat this until you answer me.)
FOLR antibodies test is mainly promoted by the guy who has patented the test.
As per H1N1 vaccine, you should cite actual crosstalking, not just sequence similarity.

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