To The Daily Sun,
Gene Danforth and Russ Wiles (again) graced us with some more anti-vaxxer quackery. As usual, if one digs into the sources and their agenda, credibility disintegrates quickly.
The Hannah Poling case is a good example of science gone bad and then anti-vaxxers adding to the confusion by misinterpreting the settlement. The government did not concede that vaccines are associated with autism. Every study ever done finds no link between the two.
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a strange animal. In the words of NEJM's Paul A. Offit in 2008, "Unfortunately, in recent years the VICP seems to have turned its back on science." No kidding. The worst of VICP decision-making occurred in 2006 when Dorothy Werderitsh successfully claimed that the Hepatitis B vaccine gave her multiple scleroses. At the time, many studies indicated that the vaccine neither caused nor exacerbated MS. The Institute of Medicine concluded, "Evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between hepatitis B vaccine and multiple sclerosis." But the VICP ignored the scientific studies presented just as they would in the Poling case.
The other issue in the Poling case was that after her symptoms appeared she was "diagnosed with encephalopathy caused by a mitochondrial enzyme deficit. Hannah's signs included problems with language, communication, and behavior — all features of autism spectrum disorder. Although it is not unusual for children with mitochondrial enzyme deficiencies to develop neurologic signs between their first and second years of life, Hannah's parents believed that vaccines had triggered her encephalopathy." Presently, there exists no clear scientific evidence that vaccines can exacerbate mitochondrial deficiencies.
Gene also mentioned Susan Humphries as Russ did. Recently, Humphries advised Israeli parents, against the advice of the Health Service, not to vaccinate for polio when it was found by the monitoring systems in several city's sewerage. Smart, eh?
Another source on Gene's list is the Tea Party's favorite doctors, the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS). Don't let the name fool you. Think Rasputin with a medical license. The far-right wing AAPS has made many bizarre unscientific claims. HIV doesn't cause AIDS. Abortions are linked to breast cancer. Vaccinations are linked to autism. Being gay shortens your lifespan. Since 1944, the group's aim was the "defeat of any government group medicine". The group also opposes any over-the-counter access to emergency contraception. With John Birchers in its leadership, it's no surprise that they also opposed the Medicare and Medicaid acts of 1965, claiming, "The effect of the law is evil and participation in carrying out its provisions is, in our opinion, immoral."
To these sociopaths, it's evil to help the sick or disabled. A decade later they opposed the new Social Security amendment that would monitor the treatment given Medicare and Medicaid patients. No wonder the Tea Party loves these quacks. The AAPS actually opposes mandated "evidence-based medicine and practice guidelines" and are so paranoid they also oppose electronic medical records. They oppose any oversight of their practices.
Back in 2008 their journal published a claim that Obama was using a covert form of hypnosis called neuro-linguistic programming in order to get votes. The deceptions are here. There's more I could list but suffice it to say that their "medical" journal is not listed in academic literature databases such as MEDLINE/PubMed or the Web of Science. Quackwatch.com lists their journal as an "untrustworthy, non-recommended periodical." An editorial in Chemical & Engineering News described it as a "purveyor of utter nonsense".
Danforth's claim that over 100 people died from the MMR and none died of measles is also false. (http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/mmrdeaths.asp.) The problem is the source again and the deliberate omission by those using The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Russ Wiles used VAERS, too. The source isn't what Wiles and Danforth claim. From its data page it clearly states, "When evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established. Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) are filed in VAERS. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event." Again, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established but Wiles and Danforth want you to think they have been.
The anti-vaxxer world is a world of shifting hypotheses and rhetoric. First it was mercury causes autism. No evidence has ever supported this, but mercury was taken out of the flu vaccine because, well, it's mercury. Did Autism rates drop? Nope. They accelerated. Now it's the aluminum. So they switched to blaming MMR vaccines and concocted new claims. Anti-vaxxer groups have no studies to support their claims, but they do non-scientific surveys which are always bogus due to their non-scientific methodology. Anti-vaxxers also have changed some of their language. They use "informed consent" and "pro-safe vaccination" and such terms, but they are always against vaccines no matter what new language they try on people.