Some people deserve bad reputations.

Andrew Wakefield is one of them. He’s the guy who promoted faulty research that implicates vaccines in the onset of autism, and encouraged parents not to vaccinate their kids. As a result, diseases that were nearly eradicated have returned, and are putting kids at risk.

Although Wakefield did not claim to have proved that the M.M.R. vaccine (typically given to children at 12 to 15 months) caused autism, his concerns, not his caveats, ricocheted around the world. His belief, based on a paper he wrote about 12 children, is that the three vaccines, given together, can alter a child’s immune system, allowing the measles virus in the vaccine to infiltrate the intestines; certain proteins, escaping from the intestines, could then reach and harm neurons in the brain. Few theories have drawn so much attention and, in turn, so much refutation: a 2003 paper in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, which reviewed a dozen epidemiological studies, concluded that there was no evidence of an association between autism and M.M.R., and studies in peer-reviewed journals since have come to the same conclusion. In Britain, the General Medical Council revoked Wakefield’s medical license after a lengthy hearing, citing numerous ethical violations that tainted his work, like failing to disclose financing from lawyers who were mounting a case against vaccine manufacturers. The Lancet, which published the original Wakefield paper, retracted it. In a series that ran early this year, The British Medical Journal concluded that the research was not just unethically financed but also “fraudulent” (that timelines were misrepresented, for example, to suggest direct culpability of the vaccine).

Andrew Wakefield has become one of the most reviled doctors of his generation, blamed directly and indirectly, depending on the accuser, for irresponsibly starting a panic with tragic repercussions: vaccination rates so low that childhood diseases once all but eradicated here — whooping cough and measles, among them — have re-emerged, endangering young lives.

I can understand the desire, on the part of parents, to try to target the cause of autism (and when it’s something like vaccines, it allows parents to blame themselves just a little bit, which I imagine for some people is a burden they want to bear). But the idolization of Wakefield seems to happen primarily because he is so sure of himself and he gives parents an answer, where the more widely-accepted medical truth about what causes autism is “we don’t know yet.”

Wakefield also listens to parents and validates their experiences, which is too rare in the medical field. One mother of an autistic child says, “I don’t care if my son was overtreated or cured — just the validation that we as parents who knew something was wrong got an answer. Just the fact that someone listened and someone tried to do something — someone said, ‘Yeah, this is not just autism; your son has a real medical issue that we can treat.’ I think that validation is all that parents want — just that someone is taking the symptoms we report and looking at them to see what can we do about it.”

It’s too bad that the person who appears to be listening is more interested in preserving his own star status than in actually helping kids, and telling their parents a difficult truth.

About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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88 Responses to Some people deserve bad reputations.

  1. gretel says:

    I have a lot of opinions about this charlatan, but I thought that instead of sharing them I’d link to a post on the Quixotic Autistic’s blog about the issue.

  2. rain says:

    It’s quite chilling to see how much damage one person can do. And how easily.

  3. Penny says:

    This week Robert Macneil (formerly of PBS news hour) is doing a six part series called “Autism Now”. In the first segment he interviews Dr. Timothy Buie (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University) who discusses how he found changes in Mr. Macneil’s autistic grandsons lower GI tract he called lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia — inflammation and damage in the small intestine. He is now treating this child for this damage and the child is finally making positive strides.

    I’m sorry but this is the same condition that Dr. Andrew Wakefield discovered and explained in his now retracted Lancet papers 13 years ago?

    I think you owe someone a big apology!

  4. GallingGalla says:

    One mother of an autistic child says, “I don’t care if my son was overtreated or cured — just the validation that we as parents who knew something was wrong got an answer. Just the fact that someone listened and someone tried to do something — someone said, ‘Yeah, this is not just autism; your son has a real medical issue that we can treat.’ I think that validation is all that parents want — just that someone is taking the symptoms we report and looking at them to see what can we do about it.”

    Wakefield did not operate in a vacuum.

    This quote illustrates one of the roots of the problem – curebie parents who think of their autistic children as being defective and in need of being “fixed”. I acknowledge that raising an autistic child can be quite hard on the parents[*] and that parents need all the support that they can get, but we auties are not defective and do not (en masse) need fixing. It ought to be up to each individual autistic person to decide for themselves whether to seek treatment and what form that treatment should take.

    [*] As my parents would readily attest to. But thank G-d that they took the approach of trying to integrate me into society rather than trying to “cure” me. Their approach probably wasn’t the best, given what I now understand about ableism, but it was better than looking at me as if I was diseased and trying to find a “cause” to pin it down on.

  5. GallingGalla says:

    Penny:
    This week Robert Macneil (formerly of PBS news hour) is doing a six part series called “Autism Now”. In the first segment he interviews Dr. Timothy Buie (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University) who discusses how he found changes in Mr. Macneil’s autistic grandsons lower GI tract he called lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia — inflammation and damage in the small intestine. He is now treating this child for this damage and the child is finally making positive strides.

    I’m sorry but this is the same condition that Dr. Andrew Wakefield discovered and explained in his now retracted Lancet papers 13 years ago?

    I think you owe someone a big apology!

    So you’re coming to this conclusion based on one child’s medical situation. And you’re believing an abled (and ableist) doctor who examines the reporter’s own child, and gets to have a big name made for himself courtesy of the reporter. I’m totz sure that there’s no conflict of interest there!. And you’re citing an ableist TV series by an ableist curebie reporter.



    I don’t even. -_-

  6. Bagelsan says:

    So you’re coming to this conclusion based on one child’s medical situation.

    But… But! Didn’t you know that autism is supposed to be protective against GI tract stuff, therefore if a kid who is autistic also has a GI thing, which couldn’t be coincidence, it must be because of the autism, because of the vaccines. Because. Quid pro quo. Caveat vaccinum. Etcetera.

    That’s right, go weep silently into your science; the correlation of two things in one kid blows your fancy-pants “statistics” and “peer reviewed research” out of the water. Boom.

    (More sympathetically, yeah, humans are way too good at seeing patterns in things that aren’t truly patterned at all. That’s why scientists and doctors have to be very strict with themselves; no matter how tempting it is to buy into a model of correlation = causation, or even to propose mechanisms based on isolated cases, you just can’t. It is a mirage until it’s backed up with proper research. And playing along with it won’t do any kids or any parents any good.)

  7. Sonia says:

    “I don’t care if my son was overtreated or cured — just the validation that we as parents who knew something was wrong got an answer. Just the fact that someone listened and someone tried to do something — someone said, ‘Yeah, this is not just autism; your son has a real medical issue that we can treat.’ I think that validation is all that parents want — just that someone is taking the symptoms we report and looking at them to see what can we do about it.”

    If someone’s parents are that stupid they’d be extremely lucky to be normal.

  8. As the mom of an Aspie son, I’m firmly convinced that autism has a genetic component (quirks his dad and I had as kids would have put us on the spectrum had it been in the popular consciousness 30 yrs ago) with a variety of triggers, including allergies, environment, etc.

    But hey, I’m not a doctor. I’m not a researcher, nor am I a speaker who earns a bucketload of cash by preying on distraught parents. What I say here hurts no one.

    Unlike Andrew Wakefield, whose single-minded pursuit of fame has stigmatized kids, drained parents’ psyches & bank accounts, and resulted in a measles outbreak here in MN. Jerk.

  9. zuzu says:

    Add Jenny McCarthy and Simon Baron-Cohen to that list.

  10. Penny says:

    The title of Wakefield’s retracted paper was, “Ileal lymphoid hyperplasia, non-specific colitis and pervasive developmental disorder in children”.

    An excerpt from this weeks PBS newshour special;

    “ROBERT MACNEIL: Nick’s (Macneil’s grandson) complex problems demanded a broader view of autism. Some call it a new paradigm, or a systemic illness, or a whole-body experience. One of the leaders of that new thinking is Dr. Timothy Buie, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University.

    DR. TIMOTHY BUIE, Massachusetts General Hospital: Six months ago, he was so lethargic and so out of it that he came into the office and literally laid on the chair for a 30- or 40-minute visit. He never moved.

    He wouldn’t interact. He wouldn’t give you any eye contact whatsoever. And at the end of the appointment, Mom picked him up and took him out and went home.

    ROBERT MACNEIL: Dr. Buie found changes in the lower GI tract he called Ileal lymphoid hyperplasia – inflammation and damage in his small intestine.

    How does that affect the life of a child like Nick? For instance, does it give him pain?

    DR. TIMOTHY BUIE: I think it can give pain. And I think pain in a child with autism is a very difficult thing to assess because a child with autism can’t vocalize that.

    How can any reasonable human being read this and not be furious? Is this what you want to preserve?

    These kids could have been recieving treatment for the last 13 years if the cover-up was not in place. People who deny this are criminals. Thank God for Wakefield!

  11. Britt says:

    The real evil doers here? They are the entire medical community who all but ignored Autism until they set out to “prove this guy wrong”. I don’t know if he is or he isn’t, but the medical community who makes a boat load of money (along with the government) from pharmaceutical companies for these vaccines ALSO have a CONFLICT OF INTEREST.

    I despise the mainstream medical community who all but abandoned their patients except to take their co-pay and file their insurance claim. He probably did more good than anyone else for the Autism community as now everyone wants to research it. It never hurt any child to take the MMR seperately. Are you people fools or the dr’s getting rich off these vaccines?

  12. chava says:

    Seriously? Fuck you. Children have died. There are just not enough words for this kind of hipster white liberal abelist anti-science bullshit.

    Penny:
    The title of Wakefield’s retracted paper was, “Ileal lymphoid hyperplasia, non-specific colitis and pervasive developmental disorder in children”.

    An excerpt from this weeks PBS newshour special;

    “ROBERT MACNEIL: Nick’s (Macneil’s grandson) complex problems demanded a broader view of autism. Some call it a new paradigm, or a systemic illness, or a whole-body experience. One of the leaders of that new thinking is Dr. Timothy Buie, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University.

    DR. TIMOTHY BUIE, Massachusetts General Hospital: Six months ago, he was so lethargic and so out of it that he came into the office and literally laid on the chair for a 30- or 40-minute visit. He never moved.

    He wouldn’t interact. He wouldn’t give you any eye contact whatsoever. And at the end of the appointment, Mom picked him up and took him out and went home.

    ROBERT MACNEIL: Dr. Buie found changes in the lower GI tract he called Ileal lymphoid hyperplasia – inflammation and damage in his small intestine.

    How does that affect the life of a child like Nick? For instance, does it give him pain?

    DR. TIMOTHY BUIE: I think it can give pain. And I think pain in a child with autism is a very difficult thing to assess because a child with autism can’t vocalize that.

    How can any reasonable human being read this and not be furious? Is this what you want to preserve?

    These kids could have been recieving treatment for the last 13 years if the cover-up was not in place. People who deny this are criminals. Thank God for Wakefield!

  13. Verity Khat says:

    My brother is autistic, and since childhood I would get seriously pissed off at people who brought it up. Because how is blaming autism on vaccines that save children’s lives any different from blaming it on “frigid mothers”? Either way, you’re saying that the blame is on the parents AND that people with autism are broken and faulty.

    Bullshit to that. On both counts.

    Genetics are much more plausible.

    And (not that I’ve ever said this to anyone, because it would be unspeakably cruel and rude) I’ve always privately thought that if you were really more willing to let your child die from the fucking mumps than “risk” them being “disabled” then you have more social problems going on than I want to go into.

  14. Verity Khat says:

    The only good I can see coming out of this whole fiasco is more studies on how different people at different ages react to vaccine agents and binders in order to make them safer in general.

  15. Considering that Wakefield’s research results proved unreproducable, a basic necessity for proving correlation (never mind causation), it’s pretty sickening to keep defending his “research”, never mind after his blatant fraud was exposed. He’ll go down in history with other researchers who were caught faking results, exposed because no other scientist could reproduce the claimed results from the same inputs.

    Also, 12 children is a pathetically small sample size.

    Given that the definition of autism spectrum is still being hammered out, it’s rather irresponsible to claim causation for the entire series of characteristics when the biological expressions of them – if they even exist beyond particular neural configurations – haven’t been determined.

  16. Penny says:

    Is this the “hipster white liberal abelist anti-science bullshit” you’re talking about Chavaz?

    Here’s the abstact of Wakefield’s paper. Has anyone here (including you Jill) even read the paper?

    Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children.

    Abstract
    BACKGROUND: We investigated a consecutive series of children with chronic enterocolitis and regressive developmental disorder.

    METHODS: 12 children (mean age 6 years [range 3-10], 11 boys) were referred to a paediatric gastroenterology unit with a history of normal development followed by loss of acquired skills, including language, together with diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Children underwent gastroenterological, neurological, and developmental assessment and review of developmental records. Ileocolonoscopy and biopsy sampling, magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI), electroencephalography (EEG), and lumbar puncture were done under sedation. Barium follow-through radiography was done where possible. Biochemical, haematological, and immunological profiles were examined.

    FINDINGS: Onset of behavioural symptoms was associated, by the parents, with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination in eight of the 12 children, with measles infection in one child, and otitis media in another. All 12 children had intestinal abnormalities, ranging from lymphoid nodular hyperplasia to aphthoid ulceration. Histology showed patchy chronic inflammation in the colon in 11 children and reactive ileal lymphoid hyperplasia in seven, but no granulomas. Behavioural disorders included autism (nine), disintegrative psychosis (one), and possible postviral or vaccinal encephalitis (two). There were no focal neurological abnormalities and MRI and EEG tests were normal. Abnormal laboratory results were significantly raised urinary methylmalonic acid compared with age-matched controls (p=0.003), low haemoglobin in four children, and a low serum IgA in four children.

    INTERPRETATION: We identified associated gastrointestinal disease and developmental regression in a group of previously normal children, which was generally associated in time with possible environmental triggers.

  17. zuzu says:

    Penny, that’s all very well and good, but Wakefield RETRACTED that paper.

    Why would you put any value on it?

  18. Gembird says:

    Penny:
    These kids could have been recieving treatment for the last 13 years if the cover-up was not in place. People who deny this are criminals. Thank God for Wakefield!

    Yes, it’s obviously people who disagree with Wakefield that are criminals- as opposed to Wakefield himself, of course. I mean, it’s not like he didn’t declare his conflicts of interest, ended up retracting his paper and got struck off the register by the GMC for acting unethically- oh wait.

  19. CBrachyrhynchos says:

    More creepy for me than Wakefield working from a deep conflict of interest, was the discovery that his data collection involved invasive and unnecessary endoscopic procedures on children.

  20. ipens says:

    I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say that he’s done much good for the autism community because research has increased. Yes, there has been more research, but a significant portion of the dollars have had to be spent repudiating his claim over and over. Money that otherwise could have been spent on researching causes, treatments, etc., has instead had to go into replicating, again and again, the lack of correlation between the vaccine and autism because the link he fraudlently proposed seems data-resistant. Heck, aside from the very specific damage he’s done in the autism field, he’s probably done a great deal of damage to vaccine research/production in general. The US hasn’t been able to incorporate other advances used elsewhere (e.g., adjuvants) because the public isn’t very willing to accept modifications to vaccines. They’ve been spooked about preservatives and, as a result, are perhaps prohibitively wary about most changes.

    And I don’t think vaccines (well, most of them) are as profitable as some people think they are. New ones, like the HPV vaccine may be, but most aren’t really raking in the dough for pharma. Look to your newly patented cholesterol or asthma or blood pressure or erectile dysfunction medication for that.

  21. Gembird says:

    CBrachyrhynchos:
    More creepy for me than Wakefield working from a deep conflict of interest, was the discovery that his data collection involved invasive and unnecessary endoscopic procedures on children.

    It also involved lumbar punctures (spinal taps). Neither procedure had been approved by the ethics board where he did his research. Wakefield is supposed to have paid kids at his son’s birthday party for blood samples too.

    I find it astonishing that parents would trust this man to tell them the truth.

  22. gretel says:

    Penny: Here’s the abstact of Wakefield’s paper. Has anyone here (including you Jill) even read the paper?

    Penny: N = 12. Do you know what that means? This redacted paper relied on data from 12 test subjects. Have you taken a research methods class? Or statistics? That’s the question you should be asking yourself. When N = 12, I am not going to read much further.

    And by mentioning the Robert McNeil segment on PBS, you are relying on the experience of one little boy as reported by his grandfather.

  23. gretel says:

    I meant retracted. Silly typo. Sorry.

  24. Tapetum says:

    Penny – just by reading through the excerpt you provided – that already doesn’t support your contention. There’s nothing about the intestinal difficulties having anything to do with the autism direct at all. What they’re saying is that the GI problems were probably causing the child pain, which the child was not able to communicate in ways the adults could understand. I find this likely and not at all controversial. My own son has a great deal of difficulty interpreting pain and telling me about it, and he’s barely on the spectrum. The implication is that the child might do better generally if his GI difficulties are treated – again uncontroversial. I see nothing beyond you yelling “WAKEFIELD!!!” that says vaccines had anything to do with the child’s autism, that treating the GI problems will do anything for or to the autism other than allow the child to have less pain and thereby have more processing available for other things (as would anybody), or implying that intestinal damage is something generally found in autistic children.

    Which is good, because n=1 gives you diddly/squat as far as generalizable data.

  25. Who let Glenn Beck in here?

  26. EndlessError says:

    @Britt

    Wow, 5 years of lurking and finally a comment so stupid it infuriates me into commenting for the first time.

    Do you even know what you are talking about? Here’s a newsflash: there’s no money in vaccines! Why do you think almost all pharmaceutical companies in the US over the past several decades have cutback RD into new vaccines into non-existence? Because you give a shot once (or 2-3 max for boosters) and you’re done! Problem solved. But drugs, you shill those out and people need to keep coming back. So, no conflict of interest with vaccines. Fuck, I’d bet big pharma would be happy to phase out vaccines if they could sell us drug cures for MMR etc instead.

  27. tigtog says:

    Another for Penny: nobody is saying that kids who have GI problems shouldn’t be treated for them.

    What we’re saying is that autism and GI problems can co-exist independently of each other, and that there is zero evidence that treating the GI problems will cure the autism.

    That a child who has experienced long-term chronic pain displays an improvement in their cognitive integration and social interaction once their chronic pain is alleviated is something that happens to neurotypical children too.

  28. paraxeni says:

    Oh Britt- what have you done.

    1) Wakefield is BRITISH. Great Britain is not in Americaland, therefore there are no co-pays or insurance fees.

    2) Vaccines are put out at a loss. Here in the UK the only people who stand to make money from vaccination are private specialists who take cash to give separate vaccinations, and developers of said niche vaccines. But wait, hang on… Oh yeah that’s right, your precious Saint Andrew was involved in the development of a separate measles vaccine wasn’t he? So by discrediting the MMR he stood to make money off the vaccine he was involved with. OH NO! ANDY WAS IN BED WITH TEH BIG PHARMAS!

    @Penny – bugger off love. Curebies and ableists care about nobody but themselves. We scary disabled and non-NT people have a saying – “Nothing about us without us” but unfortunately you people seem to have an impairment that causes you to read/hear that as “Please speak for us and ignore us”.

    What you don’t get is that every time you push the whole “vax r bad!” angle, what you’re really saying is “better dead than non neurotypical”.

    So sit down, shut up, and stop trying to speak over the heads of marginalised people. Listen and learn.

  29. paraxeni says:

    @tigtog – exactly! I’m an adult with disabilities and chronic illnesses that cause horrific, almost constant pain. If I’m not sufficiently medicated I just cannot communicate. I’m limited to fixed staring with tears streaming down my face, or screaming incoherently and unable to answer simple yes/no questions. I will often have pain-induced tantrums because I can’t decide what to eat with my pills, and no food with the meds means GI bleeds, but I just cannot bear to think about food. So it’s no wonder that kids who are treated for pain become much more responsive!

    @endlesserror – nice one! Welcome to the house of fun.

  30. Caity says:

    The horrible irony of this whole anti-vaccine mess is that rubella (the R in MMR) actually seems linked to a greater risk of autism in children born to mothers who caught it while pregnant. NOT getting your kids vaccinated because you think it’ll cause autism (which has been pretty thoroughly disproven) could actually cause an increase in autism rates by allowing the number of rubella cases to increase in the population.

    Also, I don’t know if people have just forgotten how nasty some of those formerly common childhood illnesses are, but there’s a reason that they developed vaccines for them. Basically, the whole anti-vaccine movement has been saying that it’s actually better for your kid to contract a potentially fatal illness than to have some sort of autism-spectrum designation.

  31. Odin says:

    @Caity–
    Basically, the whole anti-vaccine movement has been saying that it’s actually better for your kid to contract a potentially fatal illness than to have some sort of autism-spectrum designation.

    They’re actually also saying it’s better for _other people_ to contract potentially fatal diseases than their child be on the autism spectrum. Not everyone can be vaccinated safely (due to genuine medical issues like a compromised immune system); these people are dependent on herd immunity to keep their risk of contracting these diseases down.

    Vaccination makes you resistant, but does not always guarantee immunity. Some of the victims of recent measles outbreaks _had_ been vaccinated. And my partner contracted measles during his childhood back in the 80’s, despite having been vaccinated.

  32. GallingGalla says:

    Penny: These kids could have been recieving treatment for the last 13 years if the cover-up was not in place. People who deny this are criminals.

    Jail me, then.

    Autism doesn’t cause me pain. Ableism, which you demonstrate so well, is what causes me pain.

  33. ellid says:

    Penny –

    Wrong from beginning to end, and deliberately ignorant. Appalling.

    And oh, before you start shrieking about vaccination being worse than the disease, please tell that to the family of my elementary school classmate Randy, who died at the age of eight from a supposedly harmless disease.

  34. GallingGalla says:

    GallingGalla: Jail me, then.

    Autism doesn’t cause me pain.Ableism, which you demonstrate so well, is what causes me pain.

    Also? I had rubella as an infant. I had a 104-degree fever and had seizures. It was pretty fucking serious. And I also had mumps as a child and I was quite sick. Both of these happened in the 1960s, before the MMR vaccine was available. So, Penny, explain how I’m autistic if I never got MMR? (Here, I’ll help. [A] family history of people with traits, including my dad; [b] consider the effects that a 104-degree fever and seizures could possibly have on an infant’s brain.) And also explain to me why my getting sick with two serious illness was a good thing, and should happen to untold numbers of children because OMG AUTISM WE CAN’T HAVE THAT EVAR EVAR EVAR?

    Because that would be way worse than a disease that was killing 300 to 600 people per million population per year, at least in the UK and probably in the US (which probably had a similar level of health care to the UK)

    Or are you seriously suggesting we go back to the days when polio killed and disabled many thousands of people (and is still endemic in South Asia where access to vaccines is far from universal)?

  35. Shaun says:

    I wanted to come in and cut someone’s head off but I see GallingGalla and others have already beaten me to it. GG team. V-_-

  36. Sheelzebub says:

    Oh, hell. I was going to stomp on the stupid, but I’ll just sit here and second everything GG’s said.

    I hope these anti-vax douchecanoes explain to the parents of children who catch diseases that should have been eradicated why it’s totally okay to put their health and well-being at risk.

  37. Penny says:

    I apologize. I think there’s a missunderstanding here. You folks can inject yourselves with whatever you want. I never said you couldn’t. I’m not trying to stop you from injecting yourselves with anything. Now go out and get your 14 adult recomended vaccines (about 25 doses needed to get up to date). Vaccines are not just for newborns and infants. I especially recomend the HPV vaccine for the gals.

  38. Julie says:

    I’ve had the HPV vaccination. Had a sore arm for a day or two… that was it. No big deal. My kids are up to date on all their vaccines as well, including my newborn. I’m not saying I totally trust any pharmaceutical company, but I know what these diseases can do and I know what autism is as both my sister and nephew have autism. Autism does not scare me. Polio, diptheria, pertussis, rubella, hepatitis B- these things scare me.

  39. Politicalguineapig says:

    I’ll never understand people who don’t vaccinate their kids. Most of them are in my generation- 30-20, but didn’t their parents tell them about mumps, measles and rubella? My dad spent most of first grade out sick because he caught mumps and then rubella. My grandpa was nearly rendered sterile because of measles. (Obviously he wasn’t totally sterile, but there’s a reason my dad’s an only child.And no, it wasn’t birth control.) Dad’s closest friend in college almost died of scarlet fever, which develops from rubella. So, yeah, if I have kids, they’re getting their jabs.

    Do these parents really prefer death, sterility, or deafness to the nonexistent risk of autism? They aren’t just risking their child- they’re gambling with the health of all the children in the community. Talk about selfish.

    I’d just like to point that I don’t view deafness as a bad thing. I think it’d be traumatic for a child to suddenly lose their hearing, so that’s why I brought it up. Sterility isn’t a bad thing either, but it’s one thing to be sterile by choice, and another thing to be sterile because some parents chose not to vaccinate their kids.

  40. paraxeni says:

    Penny – listen, we get it, you’ve drunk the special kool-aid served by Jenny ‘Babykiller’ McCarthy, but here’s the thing, you’re wrong. You’re just regurgitating anti-vax propaganda.

    1) I’m 33. People my age got more vaccinations than babies do now.

    2) Some of us cannot be vaccinated for many diseases, and have impaired immunity to boot, which is why keeping the herd immunised is so important. Yeah, I get that people like you really do not give a flying fuck about the life and health of anyone else, but I’m just sad that you think people like me should be the sacrificial lambs on your altar to Wakefield. But hey, I’m not ‘normal’ anyway and by living I’m cluttering up the Earth that should be nice and clean, populated only by perfect specimens, as per the ableist creed of “Better dead than damaged”.

  41. PrettyAmiable says:

    Penny: Vaccines are not just for newborns and infants. I especially recomend the HPV vaccine for the gals.

    1. Also get the vaccine if you are not a woman. The HPV vaccine is not just for the women-folk, though it’s arguably more important for all sexually active people with a cervix.
    2. If you’re under 26? I don’t think it’s been approved for adults over 26, has it?

  42. Penny says:

    “Yeah, I get that people like you really do not give a flying fuck about the life and health of anyone else”.

    Oh really. My daughter’s life has been destroyed by unsafe, unessasary vaccines forced on her by a lieing, incompetant pediatrician. I guess her “life and health” and the millions of kids like her don’t matter. The only thing that matters anymore is rich corporations accumulating more money.

  43. Penny says:

    I concede. Vaccines do not cause autism. Autism is simply a term from the psychiatric DSM-IV manual. It’s nothing but a smokescreen. It provides an alibi for the drug companies who added mercury to vaccines at levels 250 times higher than hazardous waste levels (based on toxicity characteristics). It provides an alibi for the CDC, FDA, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the other drug company cronies who are responsible for the safety of our children. It provides an alibi for the people who administered this poison. It provides an alibi for health insurance companies so they don’t have to pay for treatment for these sick kids. It provides an alibi for psychiatrists so they can force powerfull anti-psychotic drugs on these kids who are already terribly confused.

    There will never be an identifiable cause for autism. There are though 21 published papers which identify the underlying medical condition of autism as neuroinflammatory disease. My favorite is ‘ Neuroglial activation and Neuroinflammation in the Brain of Patients with Autism’. This was published by John Hopkins University. Now, do you want to debate whether mercury, a known neurotoxin, added to childhood vaccines at levels 250 times higher than what the EPA identifies as hazardous waste, causes neuroinflammatory disease? Do you want to debate whether brain damaged kids behave in a way so that some psychiatrist can label them as somewhere on the ‘spectrum’?

  44. Paraxeni says:

    @Penny – you’ve just proved my point. You care about you and yours, nobody else.

    I pity your daughter not because she’s sick or disabled, but because you’re too busy chasing invisible monsters to lok at the bigger picture. Poor kid.

    Also, would you please explain the existence of autism in those who’ve never received vaccines containing mercury, Dr Penny. I’d love to hear more.

  45. Sheelzebub says:

    Oh, Jesus, Penny. Do tell the next parent whose kids get the measels or rhubella or mumps because you were too much of a special snowflake to vaccinate yours why it was okay to subject their kids and everyone else’s to these diseases.

    I’m so sick of these fucking woo worshippers who fuck over the rest of us with their ignorance and arrogance.

  46. Verity Khat says:

    *applauds Paraxeni and GallingGalla*

    I’m calling your shit, Penny. Vaccines were invented to KEEP PEOPLE FROM DYING; as others have said, they certainly don’t make people money. And my brother received spaced-out, non-mercury vaccines! But he’s a sample size of one, which doesn’t prove anything. Your daughter is also a sample size of one, which doesn’t prove anything either.

    I sincerely hope you’re concentrating your energy on making her feel like she belongs in this world, and that she’s not absorbing the poisonous message that you’re sharing with us. Because you’re making me sick with your ableist bullshit.

  47. Penny says:

    Boy you sure have a filthy little mouth Sleezebubble. Paraxeni, in ten years I have not been able to find one single unvaccinated kid with autism. Provide me one single study or case report which confirms that autism exists in unvaccinated children and I will shut up.

    • Jill says:

      http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1003673,00.html

      The latest study exonerating the MMR vaccine comes from Denmark, where investigators looked at the health records of every child born from 1991 through ’98, more than 537,000 children. No matter how researchers analyzed the data, there was no difference in the autism rates of children who received the MMR vaccine and those who did not.

      The Danish findings, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week, are persuasive for several reasons. Denmark’s socialized medical system has generated one of the most complete health records of any country. So the investigators were able to document accurately both sides of the equation: those who were (or were not) vaccinated and those who developed autism. Even when other factors, such as age at vaccination, were taken into account, there was no difference in autism rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated children. There was no clustering of autism diagnoses in the weeks and months after vaccination. There was no difference in the number of diagnoses of other developmental disorders related to autism in the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups.

      Other epidemiological studies over the past four years have come to similar conclusions, but none has been so large and so complete as the Danish study. Indeed, the accumulated evidence is strong enough to convince even onetime proponents of the MMR-autism link, like Dr. Jeff Bradstreet, director of the International Child Development Resource Center in Palm Bay, Fla. “MMR does not appear to cause autism,” Bradstreet concedes. “If it did, it would be a godsend because we could change the vaccine and that would be it.” Still, he suspects that the MMR vaccine might worsen a pre-existing autistic condition.

  48. Ledasmom says:

    “There will never be an identifiable cause for autism”
    My, Penny, how very fucking optimistic you are.
    My two sons are on the spectrum – what would generally be referred to as Asperger’s. You think it’s because of the MMR vaccine? Then where did I get it – got most of my vaccinations before the MMR was available. Oh, it must have been from receiving the vaccines separately – but where did my mother get it, then? She was from the generation where you actually got measles and mumps and rubella. I guess she got it from the Time-Travelling Fucking MMR Vaccine Fairy, right?
    This anti-vaccine bullshit kills kids, as in actual dead kids, but I guess that’s all right with you as long as you can pretend that autism can be avoided, if only you avoid vaccines and live a pure life and make the right magic signs and whatever the hell else you’ve decided is the trick.
    Now run off and whine to your anti-vaccine boards about how close-minded the commenters are at Feministe and what big meanies we are, and leave those of us who don’t think our autistic kids are broken the hell alone.

  49. zuzu says:

    Penny:
    “Yeah, I get that people like you really do not give a flying fuck about the life and health of anyone else”.

    Oh really. My daughter’s life has been destroyed by unsafe, unessasary vaccines forced on her by a lieing, incompetant pediatrician. I guess her “life and health” and the millions of kids like her don’t matter. The only thing that matters anymore is rich corporations accumulating more money.

    How sad that you think the fact that your daughter has autism means her life has been “destroyed.”

    Also, color me shocked that you’re a civility troll. Ooh, harsh language!

  50. Sheelzebub says:

    Oh, dear me, Penny! Do adjust your corset whilst I apologize for my unseemlhy language. Perhaps if you allowed yourself to actually breathe you could actually digest the facts that had been presented to you.

    Or you could continue to act like a woo-worshipping, ablelist, arrogant, selfish cow. I’m thinking you’re going to go with that option.

    Oh, and Penny dear? Go fuck yourself.

  51. Penny says:

    Zuzu, I see you can read and write. I bet you can even talk. The kids with autism I’m talking about can do non of these things. You are not like my child.

  52. Ledasmom says:

    And that, Penny, means science somehow works differently for you? ‘Cause if it doesn’t, then you shouldn’t be promoting anti-scientific woo to the detriment of children whose parents may be gullible enough or desperate enough to listen to you.
    Also, what Sheelzebub said.

  53. Indigo Jo says:

    Penny:
    Boy you sure have a filthy little mouth Sleezebubble. Paraxeni, in ten years I have not been able to find one single unvaccinated kid with autism. Provide me one single study or case report which confirms that autism exists in unvaccinated children and I will shut up.

    Actually I know a woman whose children are unvaccinated and one of them has Asperger’s, and she said she knows of a few others.

  54. zuzu says:

    Penny:
    Zuzu, I see you can read and write. I bet you can even talk. The kids with autism I’m talking about can do non of these things. You are not like my child.

    We do have something in common, though: both of us got the MMR.

  55. Li says:

    Penny: Provide me one single study or case report which confirms that autism exists in unvaccinated children and I will shut up.

    Um, Jill provided one, so WHY ARE YOU STILL TALKING? Way to break your promises…

  56. Penny says:

    For starters Jill, the author of the study you just provided was indicted on 13 charges of felony fraud last week.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/13/us-crime-research-funds-idUSTRE73C8JJ20110413

    But, ignoring that little tidbit, this study was heavily criticized for questionable data collation. It was implied (although not actually written) that it compared prevalance rates for unvaccinated and vaccinated children, but that was not the case.

    There were five scenarios in the data this study looked at:

    Vaccinated with MMR, subsequently developed autism.

    Not vaccinated with MMR, subsequently developed autism

    Vaccinated with MMR but determined to have been autistic (by whom I ask) prior to the receipt of MMR

    Vaccinated with MMR, did not develope autism

    Unvaccinated with MMR, did not develope autism.

    It is important to note that this study did not actually examine any children, but simply took records from the Danish Registry for Autism and accept the data as accurate.

    For reason unknown to any but the Study’s principles, the data was not collated into 5 categories to see what prevalance rates would be determined, but into only two: vaccinated and unvaccinated with MMR. And here is the part that remains critical to this debate those children who did indeed receive the MMR but
    were determined (by whom?) to have been autistic prior to the administration of the MMR at 12-15 mos were placed into the unvaccinated category.

    This had the effect of goosing the prevalance rate for the unvaccinated category upwards till the difference between the two would have fallen below the level deemed to be statistically significant.

    The authors have subsequently refused to release their raw data (considering that it even exists) when asked so the findings could be confirmed.

    In addition, these kids did recieve all there other vaccines. They are by no means unvaccinated.

  57. Sheelzebub says:

    Penny, some people’s children are dead. Because they contracted diseases that should have been elimnated through vaccination. There’s been an outbreak of whooping cough here in the US, and a measles outbreak in Europe, thanks to anti-vaxers who think that their kids shouldn’t be vaccinated. And so babies too young to be vaccinated got whooping cough from the kids who caught it–and nine of them died. And children who would not have caught measles otherwise did catch it. The illness can lead to complications such as seizures, encephalitis, and death. But I guess that doesn’t matter in your world.

    Truly. People like you are disgusting and vile. Please tell the parents of those dead infants why it’s okay their infants died.

    I’d ordinarily feel sorry for you–it’s understandable that you’d want to find a cause, any cause, for something that has caused you such distress. But people like you put other people’s kids in grave danger. And the actions of the anti-vax crowd has actually killed children. And that is unforgiveable.

  58. Sheelzebub says:

    Oh, and Penny, before you go on about how your daughter’s life was ruined, kindly keep in mind that there are parents of autistic children posting on this thread. And I have a close relative who is autistic–who cannot communicate and who cannot live independently. But vaccines didn’t cause his autism and I won’t have a bunch of woo-worshipping special snowflakes hold him and others hostage to make your own damn selves feel better.

  59. Penny says:

    The vast majority (90%) of California whooping cough cases were in kids fully vaccinated (6 DTaP shots). I had the measles. I had to stay home from school for 4 whole days! In fact, my entire elementary school got them. Not one kid had to go to the hospital. Not one kid died. Not one kid was even in pain.

    We had to take my daughter to the ER 3 times for vaccine caused seizures. Read the vaccine package inserts. Seizures are listed as a side-effect (but don’t hold your breath waiting for any medical professional to admit to what just happened).

  60. zuzu says:

    Penny:
    For starters Jill, the author of the study you just provided wasindicted on 13 charges of felony fraud last week.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/13/us-crime-research-funds-idUSTRE73C8JJ20110413

    But, ignoring that little tidbit, this study was heavily criticized for questionable data collation. It was implied (although not actually written) that it compared prevalance rates for unvaccinated and vaccinated children, but that was not the case.

    How interesting that you disregard this report for having questionable data and yet you accept Wakefield’s research as valid even though it’s been withdrawn.

  61. Sheelzebub says:

    Shorter Penny: Fuck all of you, I’ll continue to put everyone else at risk because I’m a special snowflake.

    Those kids were vaccinated whose immunity was naturally waning. Some of them needed booster shots. With herd immunity, it wouldn’t be life-threatening since all the kids would be vaccinated. But herd immunity depends upon everyone being vaccinated. If it declines, incidence of disease grows and can endanger the population at large.

    And I’m glad you think measles isn’t a big deal. Isn’t it grand that no one in your class died and you all got days off? Guess what? Kids still die, they still get sick and require hospitalization, some need to be intubated so they can breathe, and some go into seizures. Your personal experience isn’t the same thing as scientific data, and it’s vile that you’d expose the rest of us and our kids to this because you insist on beliving something that has been roundly debunked, many times over.

  62. ipens says:

    You do understand that a number of research projects refuse to release raw data because of confidentiality concerns? Particularly if these data come from protected health records? In some cases, data in which information determined to be personally identifiable is removed and the data then released, but if it is the case that a confluence of factors would make it possible for identification of an individual, those variables are generally not included in the public-use dataset. So, if you have a relatively rare event among a constrained sample (stratified by age, perhaps), with any sort of geographic markers, it is highly possible that such data would not be in the public release. This isn’t a “refusal” to spite anyone. It’s a “refusal” to protect the privacy and confidentiality of participants.

  63. GallingGalla says:

    Penny:
    Boy you sure have a filthy little mouth Sleezebubble. Paraxeni, in ten years I have not been able to find one single unvaccinated kid with autism. Provide me one single study or case report which confirms that autism exists in unvaccinated children and I will shut up.

    Jesus fucking christ, Penny. I just told you that I did not receive MMR vaccine or any other vaccine preserved with mercury, and I AM AUTISTIC.

    Do not talk to me, an autistic, about your pet theories on the causes of autism. Do not quote studies that you cherry-picked at me. Do not talk to Paraxeni, myself, or other PWDs about how much a burden we are on society and that it’d be better to let children die of preventable illnesses and people with cervixes die of preventable cancer (HPV) than have autistic people around (and we will still be around in a world without vaccines).

  64. Penny says:

    Zuzu, I’ve known Dr. Wakefield for over ten years. I’ve interupted him in hotel lobbies while he was working. He was always willing to answer my questions (like is it normal for a child to have a bowel movement only once a month)? He was never rude and didn’t charge me a nickel. It makes me sick when people say he’s in this for the money. His suits are like 20 years old. He’s helped me more than any Doctor who is being paid by my insurance provider. My premiums are $1467.00 a month. Zuzu, Wakefield upset a lot of rich, powerful people. Now he’s paying the price.

  65. GallingGalla says:

    Also, Penny, I pray that your daughter reaches adulthood with at least a little bit of her self-respect and self-image intact. That’s gonna be tough, given how you’re treating her like a lump of useless flesh.

  66. zuzu says:

    Penny:
    Zuzu, I’ve known Dr. Wakefield for over ten years. I’ve interupted him in hotel lobbies while he was working. He was always willing to answer my questions (like is it normal for a child to have a bowel movement only once a month)? He was never rude and didn’t charge me a nickel. It makes me sick when people say he’s in this for the money. His suits are like 20 years old. He’s helped me more than any Doctor who is being paid by my insurance provider. My premiums are $1467.00 a month. Zuzu, Wakefield upset a lot of rich, powerful people. Now he’s paying the price.

    So he’s your own personal charlatan, then. Got it.

  67. shfree says:

    Penny:
    The vast majority (90%) of California whooping cough cases were in kids fully vaccinated (6 DTaP shots). I had the measles. I had to stay home from school for 4 whole days! In fact, my entire elementary school got them. Not one kid had to go to the hospital. Not one kid died. Not one kid was even in pain.

    We had to take my daughter to the ER 3 times for vaccine caused seizures. Read the vaccine package inserts. Seizures are listed as a side-effect (but don’t hold your breath waiting for any medical professional to admit to what just happened).

    First, as a parent of a child with chronic asthma who had a high lead count as a toddler, I know how awful and scary it is to deal with sick kid. You want answers, you want to fix it. But at this point, I would think on the fact that maybe the reason why there has been such an uptick in the amount of cases of autism being diagnosed is simply because the community has gotten better at diagnosing it.

    I’m epileptic, and I tell my daughter all the time that I just have things wired funky in my brain. Maybe if you look at it from the aspect that she isn’t broken, or sick, but that she is just wired differently than other people and that it will take a great deal of adjusting to figure out how to negotiate the world, it might help out a bit.

  68. Julie says:

    Well Penny, my unvaccinated sister has autism. My mom is a SAHM who doesn’t believe in vaccinating babies, so my sister had not been vaccinated when she was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Clearly it didn’t come from vaccines, so what would you like to blame it on?

  69. Ledasmom says:

    Also, I wonder why we aren’t seeing autism-like syndromes in all the dogs and cats that get considerably more vaccines than any person does (people don’t generally get yearly boosters for anything, but dogs and cats do).
    (Waiting for Penny to explain that some particular health problem in cats and/or dogs is OBVIOUSLY caused by vaccines)
    Incidentally, it’s characteristic of charlatans that they’re pleasant and personable and charming people. A spoonful of sugar helps the snake oil go down.
    Also, what GallingGalla said.

  70. PrettyAmiable says:

    Penny: Sleezebubble

    LMAO. Sleezebubble. I especially like that in your wit, you didn’t spell “sleaze” correctly.

  71. chava says:

    I refuse to engage with the anti-science crowd, be they crazy right wing (anti-evolution) or disturbingly left wing (anti-vaccine and pasturization) anymore, given that we’ve spent enough money, emotion and time refuting their claims, so I feel this is a more interesting comment to plug—

    So! CAN young men get the HPV vaccine? I thought we were still working on one that worked as well in men.

    PrettyAmiable: 1. Also get the vaccine if you are not a woman. The HPV vaccine is not just for the women-folk, though it’s arguably more important for all sexually active people with a cervix.
    2. If you’re under 26? I don’t think it’s been approved for adults over 26, has it?

  72. Vigée says:

    PrettyAmiable: LMAO. Sleezebubble. I especially like that in your wit, you didn’t spell “sleaze” correctly.

    OMG, Sheelzebub, please change your tag to Sleezebubble! It just rolls right off the tongue!

  73. chava says:

    Assuming you were vaccinated, you had partial immunity from the vaccine, Penny. That’s why you only had to stay home for four days. Vaccination isn’t foolproof, but it can at least mitigate the symptoms of the disease if it appears. If you weren’t vaccinated–not all cases of measles are serious or fatal. But many are/were.

    When measles doesn’t kill, it can cause severe brain damage, blindness, etc. Especially if, say, an infected, unvaccinated child sits next to my pregnant ass on a fucking plane.

    And yeah, I have a filthy mouth, too, I guess. I am truly sorry that your child is in pain. But that doesn’t give you the right to advocate for KILLING OTHER PEOPLE’S BABIES.

    Penny:
    The vast majority (90%) of California whooping cough cases were in kids fully vaccinated (6 DTaP shots). I had the measles. I had to stay home from school for 4 whole days! In fact, my entire elementary school got them. Not one kid had to go to the hospital. Not one kid died. Not one kid was even in pain.

    We had to take my daughter to the ER 3 times for vaccine caused seizures. Read the vaccine package inserts. Seizures are listed as a side-effect (but don’t hold your breath waiting for any medical professional to admit to what just happened).

  74. PrettyAmiable says:

    chava: So! CAN young men get the HPV vaccine? I thought we were still working on one that worked as well in men.

    They definitely offer it to men 9-26 according to the Gardasil site (predictably, they’re operating in the gender binary). It says it prevents the strains that cause warts (or 90% of those strains, anyway), but it doesn’t talk about the strains that cause cervical cancer (i.e. whether you can pass those to a partner with a cervix). I have a guy friend who just missed the 26 cut off and is terrified of STDs. Sucks. (That’s actually why I wondered about the age thing – whether that’s been addressed).

  75. chava says:

    To rely on my gyn, you can get it after 26, however, it doesn’t do much good. By that age, you’ve probably been exposed–either via the environment or sexual contact–to the virus, anyway.

    Also, FDA said no:
    http://www.fiercevaccines.com/story/fda-rejects-mercks-gardasil-women-over-27/2011-04-07

    PrettyAmiable: They definitely offer it to men 9-26 according to the Gardasil site (predictably, they’re operating in the gender binary). It says it prevents the strains that cause warts (or 90% of those strains, anyway), but it doesn’t talk about the strains that cause cervical cancer (i.e. whether you can pass those to a partner with a cervix). I have a guy friend who just missed the 26 cut off and is terrified of STDs. Sucks. (That’s actually why I wondered about the age thing – whether that’s been addressed).

  76. JustDucky says:

    Antipharma troll notwithstanding, I just want to say that ya’ll remind me why I like this site: unlike some of the experiences I’ve had elsewhere – including in my own college’s Women’s Studies department – you understand there’s this thing called science, and it works. And that even though there are flaws with it, it’s still the best thing we’ve got against the rest of the things in this world that are out to kill us.

    So, um, Go Team Feministe!

  77. Li says:

    In Australia Gardasil is approved for boys but as there’s no government funding for its use on them it’s prohibitively fucking expensive. Which kinda sucks because some of us would like not to pick up HPV and would especially like to avoid the increased risk of cancer of the butt, but, you know, we queers are weird like that.

  78. PrettyAmiable says:

    You know how fucking stupid I am? I had no idea your chance of cancer was increased elsewhere in the body by HPV. I apologize for the cervix-centeredness I started @41.

    Long story short: BOO CANCER. YAY VACCINE.

  79. GallingGalla says:

    Vigée: OMG, Sheelzebub, please change your tag to Sleezebubble!It just rolls right off the tongue!

    Or even Detective Bubble, as it fits right in with the novel I’m reading right now. (Nope, not going to name the novel. Not even if you threaten me with 10 MMR shots and 5 DTaP shots.)

  80. Alara Rogers says:

    I read the self-report of an autistic woman once who said that when she was diagnosed with certain food allergies, her sensory integration issues were greatly alleviated, which helped her a great deal to communicate. Given that food allergies cause stomach pain and inflammation, I could certainly see a link between food allergies = GI tract disorder + worsening of sensory integration problems = apparent “severe” autism that “gets better” once you treat the GI problems (which probably involves a restricted diet that might cut out or cut down on the allergen, even if the allergen wasn’t identified as such.)

    This does not mean:
    – that food allergies cause autism
    – that GI tract disorders cause autism
    – that alleviating a food allergy can “cure” autism
    – that alleviating a GI tract disorder can “cure” autism
    – that vaccines cause food allergies, GI tract disorders, *or* autism. Seriously, what the hell?

    Also, Penny, if you *were* keeping up on the actual research instead of the woo, you might have heard that they are now observing that they can in fact detect signs in little babies, as young as 6 months old, that they may develop autism. For a long time it was thought the disorder came out of nowhere, wham, and that gave some weight to the theory that it was caused by vaccines, because it shows up around the same time as vaccines… but they finally got enough kids whose babyhoods had been heavily recorded on videotape to be able to compare kids who later turned out to be autistic to kids who had turned out to be NT, and there are signs of it very, very young, long before most of the vaccines are in.

    It shows signs of being a genetic disorder. It runs in families. Either you or your daughter’s father may have someone in your family with Asperger’s or autism. And the rate of autism did not drop when the mercury was taken out of the vaccines and it did not drop when parents like you started refusing to vaccinate in large numbers. It is, in fact, increasing… possibly due to better diagnostics and an increase in what’s considered “autism” or autism spectrum disorders (I might well have been diagnosed with Aspergers if, when I was a kid, the diagnostic criteria had existed… now, as an adult, I’ve learned to adapt to my weaknesses well enough that people just think I’m weird), or possibly due to the effect of environmental toxins such as plastics in the water.

    And people like you, who argue that it is better for children to die than to end up like your daughter, are why autistic children are murdered by their own parents at higher rates than any other children, and why the parents get light sentences for it. Many people, including parents of autistic children, seem to believe it would be better to be dead than to be autistic.

    My cousin, who was diagnosed autistic as a child and upgraded to Asperger’s in his tweens, is a great kid who has a wonderful future ahead of him in science or engineering. Even if vaccines *did* cause his disorder, that would be preferable to him dying of childhood illness. Your own daughter may find a way to communicate one day — many, many auties who can’t talk eventually find a means of expressing themselves through techniques like assisted typing — and when she does, I bet she will be able to tell you that she likes being alive and she’s grateful she didn’t die of rubella when she was 3.

  81. zuzu says:

    GallingGalla: Or even Detective Bubble, as it fits right in with the novel I’m reading right now.(Nope, not going to name the novel.Not even if you threaten me with 10 MMR shots and 5 DTaP shots.)

    Haha! I know it. Though it’s “Officer Bubble,” isn’t it?

  82. Shaun says:

    I love how Penny is repeatedly confronted with Autistics who have never had MMR and anecdotal evidence from family members whose Autistic relatives have never had MMR and Jill’s fucking study and she’s still spewing poison. Penny, I wish you were a troll.

    As an aside, PrettyAmiable, thanks for the information on the HPV vaccine for male-bodied people. I didn’t realize that was available.

  83. Shaun says:

    I didn’t think about this because I had MMR, but my grandfather is also Autistic. He absolutely did not receive the MMR vaccine.

  84. Penny: For starters Jill, the author of the study you just provided was indicted on 13 charges of felony fraud last week.

    Unsurprisingly for everyone, I’m sure, this is of course a misrepresentation. An author of the study, but definitely not the main author, was indicted. The study was actually based upon the PhD work of the main author, with some contribution by others. Thorsen, the indicted author, probably was included as a courtesy (given his position in the author list).

    Unlike people like Penny, I have actually read the study, and while there were a few problems with it, it is a pretty solid piece of work. But even if we disregard the study, there have been many replications from all over the world, reaching the same conclusions – there have been none replicating Wakefield’s fraudulent study.

  85. GallingGalla says:

    zuzu: Haha! I know it. Though it’s “Officer Bubble,” isn’t it?

    You’re right, it’s Officer Bubble. And I just finished the novel last night…I’ll never make a good novel geek :(

  86. maxh says:

    Penny, I’d like you to clarify something. Is someone “higher-functioning” or “less autistic” unqualified to discuss your child?

  87. MacTurk says:

    Re Penny’s constant regurgitation of a DISCREDITED and RETRACTED paper, involving so-called research done by a man who was in a severe conflict of interest situation while doing said research, this merely proves that belief is more important than facts.

    She extrapolates from a sample size of one, which is meaningless. She ignores each and every datum which refutes her belief, which has become part of how she defines herself.

    Her stupidity, along with that of the rest of the “Vaccines are Evul” crowd, is helping to ensure that various diseases, which can KILL, and which should have been eradicated like smallpox, are staging a roaring comeback.

    Well done, ye good and faithful servants of ignorant stupidity!

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