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Sunday, February 21, 2010

So Wakefield's Talking

He was discredited or fired by all the jobs he knew and loved, and all just because he was an unethical little liar - or just a bad scientist with lots of conflicts of interest. One of the two, but unethical either way. Boo hoo.

Now he's apparently broken the silence and spoken to the friendly audience over at Age of Woo.
“There has been an extraordinary outpouring of support from the autism community in response to the events of the last two weeks”
Let me just extend to you, on behalf of my corner of the autism community, a heartfelt "fuck you." How's that for support? Take your Piltdown vaccine fears, and let the real scientists do some work. Oh, and thanks a lot for all that herd immunity your fear-mongering cost us. All the kids with cancer who can't get vaccines find that extra special, you bastard.

Meanwhile, he's supposedly got a new gig:

"The most exciting part of it has been the opening up of an entirely new sort of opportunity that will allow me to continue my work on behalf of autism families.”

Um, yeah. That's super exciting. Not. My guess is that his super awesome opportunity is speaking gigs, huffpo posts, and a new book series a la Jenny. That or he decides to open a Geiers castration med franchise. There's some indication he's looking for a PR makeover, so I'm sure Oprah's couch is ready for him to start jumping on it soon.

Talking - yes!

The boy is not only using more words. He's put three of them together in an actual sentence to say his sister was watching TV. Yes!

Friday, February 12, 2010

An Infinite Number of Monkeys at the Keyboard

So the preemptive defense of Wakefield's cheerleading squad is that Big Pharma was out to get him. You know, by making a British medical journal withdraw a paper by someone who committed ethical violations during the creation of said paper. It's a spooky spooky conspiracy.

So anyway,  the absurd defense is that all this happened because Wakefield is "on the brink" of publishing this really fantastic paper, yo. And it will totally show all these doo-doo heads that mercury causes autism, even though most anti vaxxers have backed away from that one.

Anyhoo, lookie lookie. As the awesome Kim Wombles points out, that paper has been withdrawn. Not that it ever was a good paper or ever proved anything, other than proving that Wakefield is still not above conflicts of interest and bad research methodology.

Others have done awesome jobs pointing out the many many flaws in the methods they used. They added monkeys after the fact. They had training issues with the person collecting data. They didn't blind or randomize properly. They tested at different times of the day. They had to mix their own mercury into the vaccine, because the current vaccine doesn't have Hep B in it. They took one study and split it into three parts. And the whole thing had several massive conflicts of interest built in.

My biggest problem with the study is pretty damned simple. Monkeys don't get autism. Neither do mice, rabbits, polar bears, or chipmunks. Before you go arguing that it's only because monkeys don't get vaccines, I'll point out that yes, they do in research. And none of the monkeys in this study got autism, even if you take their results at face value. Just because you can make a monkey have slower reflex development does not mean you've given that monkey autism!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

And on the kid front

The girl neither is nor isn't an aspie. The diagnosis is neither given nor ruled out at this time. She's doing well in school. She's also skipping more of her lunch. Her dad is not a worrier. Her mother is. I think I'll buy some whole milk yogurt and serve guacamole more often.

The boy is suddenly talking a lot more, and it's a trend I hope continues.

He's using "more ___ please" sign phrases to ask for things. Sometimes he vocalizes with it. Sometime not. Not sure how the school will feel about this total mishmash of talker and sign language and verbal language thing, but it's what has worked for us so far.

Old MacDonald had a farm, and apparently he keeps it very well stocked with cows. They're moo mooing her, there, and everywhere. And it's awesome to hear.

Got back his test results, too. Last year he scored as approximately 25 months old. This year he scores as approximately 25 months old. Er... In all fairness, I think the test missed skills he actually had just from being in a strange testing environment. Still, I'd hoped for some awesome improvements.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Still busy

Or else I'd be having a field day. Wakefield gets crucified for his saintly ethical violations motivated by profit by the evil evil pharmaceutical industry he'd hoped to employ with that vaccine he patented. It's ok when Wakefield patents a vaccine but not when Offit does it, most likely because Wakefield didn't make millions from his vaccine. Instead he just makes piles of cash by recommending that kids have unnecessary cameras stuck up their ass for the treatment of imaginary measles that don't cause a neurological condition. Poor, poor needlessly persecuted Wakefield. 

I'd also be having fun with politically-correct-but-only-when-it's-a-Democrat Sarah Palin and her call for Rahm Emanuel but not Rush Limbaugh's resignation over use of the same R word she's alleged to have lobbed about herself a time or two in reference to her little campaign prop. What horrible thing in a past life did we do to deserve either her or McCarthy as spokespeople?