Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A little comparison between the two vaccine camps

| »

Herein is a tale of two sides in the vaccine manufactroversy. On the one hand, we have the reality-based camp, which just got renewed confirmation via yet another study:

A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics Friday may put [worried parents] at ease. Researchers found no association between autism and the number of vaccines a child gets in one day or during the first two years of the current vaccine schedule.

The research was led by Dr. Frank DeStefano, director of the Immunization Safety Office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Together with two colleagues, DeStefano and his team collected data on 256 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 752 children who did not have autism. The children were all born between 1994 and 1999 and were all continuously enrolled in one of three managed-care organizations through their second birthday.

The researchers not only counted how many vaccines a child was given, they also counted how many antigens within the vaccines children were exposed to over three different time periods: birth to 3 months, birth to 7 months and during the first two years. They also calculated the maximum number of antigens a child would receive over the course of a single day.


"When we compared those roughly 250 children with ASD and the roughly 750 children who did not have ASD, we found their antigen exposure, however measured, were the same," said DeStefano. “There was no association between antigenic exposure and the development of autism."

The researchers also found no association between antigenic exposure and ASD.

And on the other hand, we have anti-vaccinationist fear-monger David Kirby, lying about a vaccine-related court case at (where else?) The Huffington Post. Orac reports in his wonderfully thorough (if long-winded) fashion:

In a way, it’s oddly comforting to know that, even after all these years David Kirby can still bring home the stupid, flaming like napalm, and bring home the stupid he does in a post on—where else?—HuffPo entitled Vaccine Court Awards Millions to Two Children With Autism. He begins with what is, in essence, a bait and switch that is apparent in the title. You can see right there that what Kirby is going to try to convince people is that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) through the Vaccine Court has “admitted” that vaccines cause autism by compensating children for vaccine injuries that include autism. We’ve heard this ploy time and time again. The routine is well-established and trotted out every so often to convince the credulous that somehow the government is “hiding” the “truth” that vaccines cause autism while paying off the parents of vaccine-injured autistic children.

It’s a transparent ploy for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the standard of evidence for the Vaccine Court is what has been referred to as “50% and a feather.” Basically, it’s the same standard of evidence as any other civil court: a preponderance of evidence. For another thing, Daubert rules are relaxed, and scientific evidence is not disallowed if it doesn’t meet Daubert standards. Finally, even if the VICP did reimburse parents because the Vaccine Court ruled that vacines cause autism, it would not be evidence that vaccines do, in fact, cause autism. After all, the courts have gotten it wrong on science time and time again, for example when there was a settlement of a class action lawsuit claiming that silicone breast implants cause all sorts of chronic systemic health problems. They don’t. No, courts don’t decide scientific conclusions; scientists do through evidence, experimentation, and hypothesis-testing that ultimately lead to a scientific consensus. Even if VICP did rule as David Kirby wants you to think it did, it would not mean that vaccines cause autism. More importantly, that’s not what the court ruled, and even David Kirby admits it:

The federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, better known as “vaccine court,” has just awarded millions of dollars to two children with autism for “pain and suffering” and lifelong care of their injuries, which together could cost tens of millions of dollars.

The government did not admit that vaccines caused autism, at least in one of the children. Both cases were “unpublished,” meaning information is limited, and access to medical records and other exhibits is blocked. Much of the information presented here comes from documents found at the vaccine court website.

Some observers will say the vaccine-induced encephalopathy (brain disease) documented in both children is unrelated to their autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Others will say there is plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise.

Indeed, uninformed observers can suggest anything they want. Kirby should know, being one of the most clueless and agenda-driven of them all.

(via The Daily Grail)