Posted by: Bill | May 28, 2009

Not done with autism and MMR nonlink

Before I get too deep into this post, I will note that the article I link to has zero citations of any kind. I am posting because I have strong feelings on this topic and I picked up a few new details while reading it. The conspiracy theory behind the original study that kicked off this nonsense gets a little deeper if the writer of this article speaks the truth (or even something resembling the truth).

This study was criticized as flawed and ten of its twelve authors have since disassociated themselves from its assertions. Subsequently it was revealed that previous to the study Wakefield had received well over a half million dollars from lawyers hoping to sue vaccine companies. Recently it was claimed that Wakefield falsified his data. Worse yet, it has been discovered that Wakefield, prior to his publication, had applied for a patent for a new measles vaccine: if he could prove the old vaccine was dangerous a new vaccine would be very profitable.

If even one of these is accurate, that is ridiculous and it makes me wonder why it took so long to figure all this out. It’s been over 10 years. The article goes on to talk about some other folks who appear to be attempting to profit from this nonlink.

In the news recently have been the activities of Dr. Mark Geier and his son David, longtime campaigners in the arena of dubious autism activity. Mark Geier has appeared as an “expert” witness in over a hundred cases, although he has been criticized by courts for being intellectually dishonest and not having appropriate training, expertise and experience. Reputable scientists have repeatedly dismissed the Geiers’ autism research as seriously flawed. A front-page article in the NY Times actually made fun of the pretentions of the Geiers and their naive lab facilities. But they are not deterred by criticism, and their latest venture is opening clinics around the country offering autism treatment with the dangerous drug Lupron.  Lupron alters levels of testosterone and is sometimes used to chemically castrate sex offenders; no scientific support exists for it to treat autism. To use it for autism has been called irresponsible.

Once again though, I feel the need to point out that the above paragraph offered several opportunities to link to some evidence that the author is not just making all this up.

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