Better And Better

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

The damage done by one man.

When you're a parent of a child with severe autism, you may very well find yourself search for a reason why your child was born with this inability to relate to the world. I imagine that it would be very easy to find yourself grasping for something, anything, to make sense of why your child had this handicap.

So when we started hearing about a study in England, relating vaccinations to the uptick in autistic cases, it must have been very seductive indeed for those parents to believe in it, even before the study was validated.

Good science has peer reviews, and has validity questions asked and answered. If your samples are contaminated with poor representations, or your data was not interpretted the same way, or you used biased methods, then you will get junk science, which cannot be replicated when good solid methods are used.

The English study, conducted by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, was worse than junk science; it was fraud.

And that fraud has led to a giant decline in vaccinations throughout the UK and even the US. Consequently, measles is up to the highest level in 13 years. Vaccinations rates fell 80% (can this be true?!?).

Another scientist named Deer says that he has not only found clear fraud, but a clear motive: pounds sterling. Apparently, lawyers were paying Wakefield to find these "facts," Deer says.

The British government have stripped Wakefield of his medical license. He says that it's a witch hunt to get him for saying something unpopular.

But there have always been scientists who were willing to speak out and say something unpopular, in the defense of good science. If Wakefield's notorious conclusions are correct then he'll receive support of his methods by legitimate members of the scientific community.

At this point? We don't have any proof of a link between vaccinations and autism. Even if there were a link, we can't point to Wakefield's study for proof.

But we can point to damage done to many children, but the acts of one bad "scientist."

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8 Comments:

At Thursday, January 06, 2011 10:13:00 AM, Blogger CalvinsMom said...

Wakefield ought to be burned at the fucking stake for his fraud and deceit. He's cause irreparable harm.

Sadly, there are still going to be people who cling to his work and refuse to see that he's a lying sack of shit.

 
At Thursday, January 06, 2011 8:20:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Sad, and totally pointless... And we will be seeing the impact of the faked research for years to come.

 
At Thursday, January 06, 2011 8:23:00 PM, Blogger TOTWTYTR said...

I hear that former Doctor Wakefield is living somewhere in the Austin area. I know that's not near you, but if you should run across him, please give him a first rate ass kicking for me.

Thanks.

 
At Monday, January 10, 2011 6:59:00 PM, Blogger Well Seasoned Fool said...

Dr. Wakefield and I have some common ground. We have an autistic child. I know his brother who immigrated to the USA many years ago.

Dr. Wakefield challenged the status quo. He was one of the first to look at a link between anthrax inoculations and Gulf War Syndrome.

He may be wrong but he is not venal. He has been attack by agents (reporters) whose clients have deep pockets and entrenched interests.

Whenever I bring any of this up, I get hammered by medical practioners of all stripes. Let me say this. It is my body, it is my child's health and I don't care how many letters you have after your name or how many framed documents on your wall. Convince me! "Your the Doctor" goes nowhere with me. My responsibility, my decision.

In 1995 I was diagnosed with severe Obstructive Sleep Apnia. The doctor involved COMMUNICATED with me. I've used a CPAP since that day. Point is; I'm not stupid.

You are not infallible. The madder you get, the less I trust YOUR judgement.

Dr. Wakefield is one individual against an entire news dissemination machine. His facts don't get out. He may have made errors or he may be right. I wonder about the agenda of those vilifying him.

 
At Tuesday, January 11, 2011 10:58:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

Are you there, Mr. Well-Seasoned?

I have only this agenda: ruling out rumour and witchcraft and finding fact. Wakefield managed to undermine vaccinations, yet his research was not good science.

Remember Cold Fusion, in 1989? Fleischmann and Pons used far better, and more honest, research than Wakefield's, yet their "discovery" was discounted.

I myself suspect that the "rising incidence" in autism has to do with better identification of the broad spectrum disorder. The correlation would thus be that the same rise in medical science that defines and identifies autism would occur with the rise in medical science that creates and administers vaccinations.

 
At Tuesday, January 11, 2011 4:37:00 PM, Anonymous LabRat said...

Wakefield didn't "make errors", he deliberately falsified massive amounts of his data, and his motivation to do so was pretty clearly money from a lawsuit. I'm sorry, but that does in fact make him the definition of venal.

However you feel about doctors or the medical establishment doesn't change that.

 
At Tuesday, January 11, 2011 7:23:00 PM, Blogger Well Seasoned Fool said...

Good points. On this subject I agree to disagree. I'm usually rational but can get bent quickly when it involves health.

A lifetime of medical blunders involving loved ones makes me a total skeptic.

 
At Tuesday, August 27, 2013 12:03:00 PM, Blogger M said...

We all here are skeptical. That's the point. Why aren't YOU skeptical of Wakefield?

Do you understand the concept of the peer review process? This is the very basis of science. The research methods are looked at. If the methods have no validation errors, and the data is clear, then the study is validated, regardless of what it says. Sometimes, this sets medical science on its ear. (Like when it was discovered that X-Ray imaging pregnant mothers caused a higher incidence of cancer among their children, which the doctors at the time did NOT want to hear. But the study was validated at the time.)

 

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