1/30/2010

Quackadoodle

Of course, this is courtesy the comment-moderated blog by Harold Doherty. Now, I'll admit it's been a highly interesting day in the webosphere today, but this just cracked me up. John Best is such a hoot!  Or is it quackadoodle?

1/29/2010

The Pharma Whores: Penniless but Hot for Science

Catchy, no? Spend anytime on the autism blogs, groups, and forums and you'll see the pharma whore gambit trotted out by the anti-vaxing crowd any chance it gets. I think they just like to shout "whore" as much as they can. Stop. Look around, make sure no kiddies are in sight, and give it a shout out."WHORE!" See, made you smile. Obviously a pleasure inducing word. Hah.

Anyway, these tired, jaded attempts to suggest that anyone who stands for science must be getting paid to do so are an attempt to avoid our arguments. If you keep yourself occupied shouting whore every chance you get, you don't have to actually make any of them brain cells rub together. Yes, I know they don't rub together. As Thelma would say, them damn fools ain't got no sparks goin on up there noways. She has a way with words, that's for sure. Mike Adams at NaturalNews seems to think he's got a lock on what skeptics think. He's got a hell of a lot of advertising over there, but I haven't seen anyone call him an altie whore. Stagliano's got a twinkle in her eye as she pops an MB-12 pop in her mouth and types about the energy rush, but no one is calling her an altie-whore, either.

We don't have to call them whores with all the accompanying loathing that they place with that word (a way of denigrating women at the same time, even if the person defending is a man); it's a two-for that way, they've denigrated a man's manhood by calling him that and a woman, as well.  We don't have to resort to name calling in order to avoid the argument. Scientific evidence is beautiful for defending our claims. Now, we might name call while we provide the science, but our claims don't consist of "Well, you're a big poopoo head!"

All this to do my little bit to ahem myself for readers to be aware of a new facebook group, The Golden Emesis Basin Awards. Feel free to come have a look, suggest an award category and nominees. :-) Have fun, but try not to be vicious. Remember, we back our stuff up with claims.

Helping Kids: It's so Thoughtful. It's also Lucrative.

Thoughtful House is a non-profit. Interesting, isn't it? Also interesting is their revenue.

 In 2008, they brought in a total revenue of 2.8 million in donations. Equally fascinating is how much they pump back into helping the kids, considering they have assets of 5.29 million dollars. Yes, they give it all back to helping kids. And Wakefield received a salary of $270, 005. They have 1.89 million dollars in cash and 1.93 million in savings, just sitting there.


Interestingly, they get to call themselves a nonprofit, even though they sit on those assets because of this:




How does that compare to previous years? Let's see.

In 2007,  they brought in a total revenue of $2.39 million. Assets were $4.5 mil.

Now here's where it's interesting. In 2008, Wakefield's working 40 hours a week and getting compensation of $270 grand, but in 2007, he's listed as the executive director, working 10 hours a week and not getting any compensation. Hmmmm.

In 2006, Thoughtful House brought in $2.91 million. Assets were $3.6 million. Wakefield's listed as executive director, working the 10 hours per week and receiving no compensation.

In 2005, TH brought in $908 grand. Assets were $1.7 million. Here's an interesting tidbit. He's executive director; he's there 40 hours a week, no compensation, but an expense account of $46 grand.

In 2004, TH brought in $1.7 million. Assets of $1.6 million. Now, I don't know how they're shifting things, moving his money around, but in 2004, Wakefield made $75 grand as executive director and worked 40 hours a week. It's possible that he's being funded by TH under research, which is not itemized out to individual payees.

The 2007 Annual Report for Thoughtful House shows that Wakefield is the research staff. He took no compensation for executive director. There were salaries of  $243,237 paid out to unnamed staff. $319,991 was paid to Medical Intervention for Autism out of Wilmette, Illlinois, for research services.

In all honesty, it looks like Thoughtful House takes in donations and does very little with those donations to help anyone.

Thoughtful House states its mission as: "Fighting for the recovery of children with developmental disorders through the unique combination of medical care, education, and research."

They have nine clinical staff listed, as well as five research staff (Wakefield), and four administrative staff. Having looked through their non-profit tax returns, the only consistently paid staff is

Anissa Ryland, who consistently has been paid over $100,000 for her work.

The employee compensation amounts are not high enough to account for all of the above employees. I'm pretty sure they aren't working for free, so are their compensations being covered under the fees-for-services. When you look at their page on the medical clinic, you can see that they are taking in money for medical care (which does not appear to be covered under the non-profit):

"Do you bill insurance?


No, due to the variability of insurance benefits we do not. We will, however, assist you by providing invoices with the appropriate coding and HCFA forms as needed to submit to your carrier for reimbursement. You are responsible for payment, which is due at the time of service."
"What are your fees?
Consultations and follow-ups are billed from $290 to $390 per hour. This is pro-rated - that is, only the time you spend in the appointment is billed."

And get this, if you don't cancel 7 days in advance, they charge you half of that:

"What is your cancellation policy?


We have a strict cancellation policy because so many children are urgently seeking our attention and care. Whether the consult is via phone or in office, all new patient appointments require seven business days notice for cancellation and all follow up appointments require 48 business hours notice for cancellation. If timely notice is not given, there will be a charge equal to 50% of the scheduled consultation fee."

Here's what I don't get: the folks at AoA and around rage about how little is done for autistic children to help them be cured. Thoughtful House takes between 300 and 400 dollars for an hour consult, and then the huge costs for lab work and tests with their service providers. Insurance is not accepted. And they take donations on top of that for their nonprofit, where they are sitting on 5 MILLION DOLLARS in assets. And the folks at AoA love Wakefield and Thoughtful House.  How do they justify this? Where is the evidence that TH and Wakefield are helping? Because it really looks to me like they're preying on the vulnerable and the desperate.

Where are the investigations by the IRS? By the medical boards? I don't get it. Where is the moral outrage that a non-profit would be sitting on 5 million dollars instead of using that to support these families? What the hell is going on here?

1/28/2010

Irresponsible, Dishonest House

Thoughtful House would have you think that psychologists think that autism is a sentence of doom with nothing to be done about it. They'd also have you believe a lot of other inaccurate things about autism, what it is, what are responsible ways to treat the symptoms and behaviors causing problems in functionality:


"If your child is diagnosed on the autism spectrum, the next thing to know is that autism is treatable. If your child's psychologist or pediatrician tells you that nothing much can be done to change things, it's only because they lack information."

I'll freely admit you run across psychologists who know very little about autism or whose biases get in the way. Pediatricians are not qualified to "treat" autism. Developmental pediatricians are. Huge difference.
This sounds lovely: folk who've walked the walk and offer a comprehensive treatment protocol:
"Many of the staff and clinicians working at Thoughtful House are parents that have children on the autism spectrum. Our many years of researching effective therapies have resulted in a comprehensive approach, so that a child receiving care will be consulting with a team of clinicians encompassing these areas:"

But then we get to the woo and the unproven theories of autism:

"Medical Treatment: Children with childhood developmental disorders (CDDs) have dysregulated immune systems, a finding supported by many studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals. Treatment directed at correcting immune system abnormalities is imperative, and includes supplying nutrients key in normal immune function, supporting the detoxification pathways, and breaking the inflammatory cycle."

And while I do not deny the seriousness with which gastrointestinal issues complicate a person's life (as it's something I deal with on a daily basis personally), I do, based on the current state of science today, decry the idea that autism and GI issues are co-linked. There is no good evidence showing a causal relationship between the two:
"Gastrointestinal Diagnosis and Treatment: Many children with CDDs have GI symptoms that precede, coincide, with, or appear after the onset of neurological symptoms or regression. A child should produce one formed stool per day – anything else may merit attention. GI symptoms common in children with autism include constipation, diarrhea (often described as mushy or grainy, not watery), abdominal pain, abnormal posturing, malodorous stool, undigested food in stool, abdominal distention, and failure to thrive (not growing). Many children don’t present obvious symptoms until they are older, and because of communication and pain-response deficits, the GI symptoms of many children with autism are overlooked. There is also a subgroup of children with autism that appear to lack GI symptoms, but without evaluation the question of an occult (hidden) GI inflammation remains answered."

Look, he's telling you that your kid may have issues but they're not showing yet, but they will. And then he notes that there's a subgroup who "appear to lack" the issues, but without the colonoscopy, who can really say? I've had a colonoscopy and will do another one this year, so I say this knowing absolutely what is involved in that prep. If you put your child through this procedure with no signs or symptoms to suggest there's any reason to believe there is a problem, you're probably one of the dumbasses who thinks shoving a laxative up your child's ass a couple hours before you shove a chelating suppository up there is hunky-dinky-dory.
Moving on to frakking with their food:

"Clinical Nutrition Treatment: Because of abnormal permeability in an autistic child's inflamed gut, and weakened digestive enzyme function, before some food proteins are fully digested they 're able to leak into the bloodstream. The immune system responds by making antibodies against these proteins, further contributing to inflammation. Particular proteins also can act as false neurotransmitters and detrimental drug analogs, affecting brain function adversely; gluten and casein proteins (from grains and milk products) are two examples. Counseling can be key in determining which foods a child might be reacting against. When offending proteins are removed from the diet, it can profoundly improve both gastrointestinal and neurological functioning in some children. Furthermore, because many affected children have bowel disease they may not be absorbing enough nutrients from their food, making supplementation and a well-designed nutritious diet even more important. In addition, unless properly supervised, various dietary interventions employed that are ostensibly helpful might result in protein, nutrient, and caloric deficiency. The poor metabolic, immune system, and methylation pathway functions in affected children mean that they require individualized supplementation."
From there, though, they've got a good cash cow, since full ABA therapy can run upwards of 50 grand and Thoughful House is thoughtfully a cash based industry:

"How is Thoughtful House funded?


Thoughtful House is a non-profit organization that is funded through private donations (both individual and corporate), and foundation grants. Clinical services are offered through collaborations with specialized clinics that operate on a fee-for-service model."

Continuing with the last therapy provided:

"ABA Therapy, provided by C.A.R.D.: Behavior Analysis is the science of behavior; Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the systematic approach to assessment and evaluation of behavior, and the supervised application of interventions based on the principles of learning theory. ABA focuses on the development of adaptive social behavior and the reduction of maladaptive behavior. "Social behaviors" include academics, communication, social skills, and adaptive living skills. C.A.R.D. is recognized as the most caring and productive approach to behavior modification in children on the autism spectrum."

Who do they serve?
"Thoughtful House currently serves families that come from 48 states and 31 countries. While there is a lot of information and support that may be provided through phone consultations with various staff and collaborative clinicians, patients must be seen by the clinicians at least once per year (individual treatment plans vary). The limits imposed by location mean that our entire staff make every effort to support and communicate with families who choose this profoundly rewarding if arduous journey toward filling their child’s potential."

Gotta love this last line: "support and communicate with families who choose this profoundly rewarding if arduous journey toward filling their child’s potential." In other words, don't go down this route, and you obviously don't love your child and want what's best for him. Right. Gotcha.

Wakefield’s Inquisition: Abuse of the legal system and media by anti-vaccine “doctor” by David N. Brown

Wakefield’s Inquisition: Abuse of the legal system and media by anti-vaccine “doctor”


By David N. Brown

As the GMC approaches a verdict on the misconduct of Andrew Wakefield, anti-vaccine sources are engaged in a concerted effort to make the “doctor” into a martyr rather than a sociopath. It is vital to ensure that the general public is not in any way lulled into sympathy for the “doctor”. In my judgment, the most important point to drive home is that, while Wakefield and associates play up the image of the “doctor” being persecuted for his ideas, he is the one who has persistently acted to suppress any discussion not entirely in his favor. To that end, I have compiled the following list, complete to the best of my ability, of recorded frivolous lawsuits, libels, complaints and harassment by Wakefield and his immediate associates against his numerous critics.



3 October 1996: Wakefield files a complaint with the Broadcasting Standards Commission over a broadcast critical of his claims that MMR was associated with Crohn's disease.

1998-2003: Nick Chadwick withholds negative results suppressed by Wakefield from the public, apparently as required while litigation was ongoing.

February 2002: Wakefield files or threatens to file complaints to the GMC against critical colleagues. One formal complaint involved a statement made in 1997. He reportedly told government chief medical health officer Sir Liam Donaldson: “It has come to my attention that you have sought details of our studies from the ethical practices committee of the Royal Free NHS trust. I infer from this that faced with an increasingly compelling scientific case against the MMR vaccine you are seeking to discredit the scientists involved. Your attempts to interfere in the scientific process are unacceptable. Not only do you have no right whatsoever to this information without permission, but also your action has had an indirect but nonetheless profound effect upon our ability to help these desperately ill children. I am seeking advice prior to taking this issue up with the General Medical Council.”


27 February 2004: The Sunday Times and the Lancet a letter from Wakefield's attorneys denying Feb. 20 reports that Wakefield failed to disclose conflicts of interest related to the 1998 paper, with the stated purpose "to invite you to agree promptly to publish a full apology to our client".

November 2004: Wakefield files a lawsuit against Brian Deer and Channel 4 for libel. At around the same time, his attorneys send a letter falsely alleging that Deer “has made a formal statutory complaint to the General Medical Council against Mr Wakefield and others concerning these matters.” The letter also refers prominently to “a current Press Complaints Commission” of Brian Deer, though no such complaint is on record. The claim of a complaint by Deer is taken up by Carol Stott, and continues to circulate to the present despite repeated denials by Deer and the GMC. Curiously, a February 27, 2004 BBC article stated, “The General Medical Council is now carrying out an investigation into Dr Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who led the 1998 study.” This statement, coming only five days after Deer’s first report was published, not only weakens any suggestion that Deer directly initiated the investigation, but raises the possibility that some form of GMC inquiry on Wakefield (conceivably rising from his own past complaints against others) was under way even before Deer’s allegations were made public.

March-October 2005: Wakefield’s attorneys seek to freeze further action in the libel suit against Deer. Justice Eady “The claim form was issued on 31st March but only served on 22nd June 2005. Thereafter, it seems, the particulars of claim were served with some reluctance following prompting by the Defendants and an order of Master Rose on 27th July of this year. They eventually appeared on 10th August. There has thus apparently been a rather relaxed and dilatory approach towards litigation of a kind which is supposed to achieve vindication of reputation.” He further questions Wakefield's motives in the lawsuit as a whole: "Claimant wished to extract whatever advantage he could from the existence of the proceedings while not wishing to progress them or to give the Defendants an opportunity of meeting the claims."

31 January 2005: Wakefield files a second lawsuit against Deer, over content of briandeer.com, and a third against the Sunday Times and Channel 4.

29 June 2005: Cambridge Evening News receives a letter from Wakefield's attorneys over a citation of a Brian Deer report (worded as "the article alleged..."), calling on the paper to "publish an apology".

July 2007: Martin J. Walker initiates smears against Brian Deer. Claims include allegation that Deer initiated GMC hearings against Wakefield. Though Wakefield condemns Walker on 3 November 2008, Deer reports a December 2009 newsletter for Wakefield's "network" requesting donations to pay an additional 5,500 pounds to Walker.

6 February 2009: A letter sent to Brian Deer requests that an article (published 2 days later) presenting evidence that Wakefield case histories in 1998 paper not be published: “(Y)ou appear to be considering publishing an account which covers much of the same material as is being considered by the Panel. Publication of your allegations and account at this time will give rise to serious risk that the GMC process will be prejudiced and the faimess of the hearing compromised. You also know that, at this juncture in the GMC process it would be inappropriate for Dr Wakefield to give a detailed response to you. He has denied t he allegations and gave a detailed response over many days to the GMC Panel.”

13 March 2009: Andrew Wakefield files complaint with Press Complaint Commission, over Feb. 8 story. The key allegations are that Deer “knew that these allegations were either false or misleading, based on incomplete records – or, at the very least, open to question” and that “it was he who brought the original complaint. He therefore has an undeclared interest in its conclusions.”

20 March 2009: Andrew Wakefield files addendum to complaint over Brian Deer’s statement, “I did not lay the initial complaint against Wakefield. This allegation is a fabrication, albeit rather a small one in the MMR issue.” Bizarrely, Wakefield presents truth of his own allegation as immaterial: “(W)hether or not Mr. Deer initiated the GMC investigation as ‘complainant’ in his letter dated Feb. 25, 2004, or acted as an ‘informant’ in an investigation already begun by the GMC, he did not disclose his own direct participation in the GMC investigation in his most recent accounts in the Sunday Times, intending to give the public the misimpression that he was acting as a neutral and disinterested reporter.“

3 July 2009: Thoughtful House release, “Press Complaints Commission Orders Sunday Times to Remove MMR journalist’s Stories on Dr. Wakefield from Paper’s Web Site”, alleges, “The PCC decision today appears to indicate there are questions about the accuracy of the Deer stories,” despite implicit admission in Feb. 6 that Deer reported only what had been alleged by others.

9 July 2009: Second press release, “Sunday Times Defies Press Complaints Commission”, alleges that “the Sunday Times has now defied the PCC by putting the stories back online after complaining Dr. Wakefield publicly announced the PCC’s directive.”

8 September 2009: NAA press release “Offit’s Failure to Disclose Jeopardizes Swine Flu Vaccine Program” is carried by Reuters. The stated location of “Austin, Texas”, in contrast to NAA headquarters location of Nixa, Missouri, strongly suggests that Wakefield and/or Thoughtful House are the creators of the release. The release defends Wakefield, attacks Paul Offit, and by extension attacks Dateline broadcast in which Wakefield was portrayed critically. It includes the claim, first made in a hoax published by Age of Autism, that “Offit’s share of a royalty sale for the Rotateq vaccine to Merck is a minimum of $29 million and may approach $50 million.” Wakefield’s use of a third party to promote the hoax in September raises the possibility that he significantly contributed to the hoax itself, in which figures were inflated through an inapplicable 2007 CHOP policy and documents from a patent which preceded the one which was sold.

27 January 2009: On the day before the GMC released its first findings against Wakefield, a 104-page complaint is filed with the GMC by multiple or. The most straightforward and prominently publicized claim is that Drs. Horton, Salisbury, Zuckerman, Pegg, and Rutter “gave false statements”. Obviously prepared long in advance, this complaint can be presumed without merit, and could easily be used as a basis for countersuits. Its greatest significance will almost certainly be as yet another obstacle to timely disclosures of findings and to further legal actions, of which US disciplinary proceedings against Wakefield and litigation against him and Thoughtful House are the most threatening to the “doctor’s” interests.

In hindsight, there are many things that were “off” about Wakefield. He relied (perhaps not wholly by his own choice) on an image of a “young maverick”, though he was in fact a well-established but not distinguished researcher with dozens of previous publications (none of which is listed in a Thoughtful House bibliography!). He earned his doctorate in 1981, at the strikingly early age of 25, yet PubMed records only 3 papers of his published before 1991. He held several formal titles at Royal Free, yet his contract stipulated that he have “no involvement in the clinical management of patients.” His previous efforts to link MMR with Crohn’s disease came very close to drawing charges of fraud (see review ) His publications in the affair show a shifting roster of coauthors and repeated changes in publishing journals. I find the path of his career (particularly his early display of apparent talent followed by surprising early difficulties) strikingly like that of artists who go on to commit forgery. I also see disturbing parallels to "angels of death" such as Richard Angelo, who left a trail of bodies along with a string of failed jobs as a male nurse. A major complaint to rise from hospitals in this and other cases is that they had been limited in their ability to denounce ex-employees by the threat of being sued by same (though I suspect fear of being sued by the victims' survivors had far more to do with it!). Wakefield can be added as an even more egregious example of the abuse of the legal system (not to mention the press) to delay exposure of misconduct.

The bottom line is that the only thing necessary to stop Wakefield was for those who knew the most about his conduct to speak up before his spurious claims became cultural currency. The best way to ensure that similar (or even worse) offenders are exposed before they do harm is to reform the courts, so that litigation is NEVER allowed to trump timely criticism among scientific professionals

Tweeting Nonsensical Hyperbole from Stagliano/AoA: Wakefield Not classy

Stagliano proves more with each day that a wider perspective is not her forte. Confronted with the uncomfortable reality that she hawks for a company that tested its product on ten people, has no data on safety or effectiveness and that she willingly sprinkles this stuff on her children's breakfast foods while decrying vaccines and saying they need more study, she entrenched and insisted that the one page FAQ page proved that OSR was safe.

Fast forward to today, and we can see that Wakefield's being found dishonest and unethical is magically transposed into a valiant hero being villified and sick, "gravely ill" autistic children being harmed. The mean and nasty NDs and autistic adults who are glad that a dishonest, unethical and dangerous man has finally been called that are terrible and sick for saying so. Who will help the sick kids now?



There's no objective evidence that 1. autistic children are gravely ill, 2. Wakefield did anything to help them. And if he was seeing patients, then he was in violation of the law. He's not licensed to practice in Texas.

Today's ruling does nothing to stop him from continuing to "not" practice in Texas, and the loyalists have already proven it's not going to lower his client base. Hopefully, it will keep it from growing, though. And that's certainly a reason to cheer.




Since Wakefield isn't licensed to practice, doesn't see patients, how is he healing children? How tortuous does your logic have to be to think that a guy who didn't get the IRB approval he needed before ordered tests he wasn't authorized to order isn't about healing? Exactly how is Thoughtful House healing your kids? Oh, that's right. They do chelation, don't they?

Yeah, the people standing against untested, untried, unproven therapies on disabled children would "sooner see our children swallowed by the earth than healed." I'm going to call this the blatant bullshit it is. The folks standing against this are parents of disabled children, are adults on the spectrum. Perhaps some of us are nerds. Perhaps some of us are in basements. Perhaps some of us have mothers who prepare our meals. But the thought that the people who find satisfaction that the truth is revealed about Wakefield's ethics in the hopes that less children will undergo unnecessary invasive procedures and dangerous, unproven therapies because we don't want children with disabilities to be "healed" shows how warped Stagliano's world is. For another mother to come in and wish that "everyone had his integrity......the world be so much better off"? Oh my gods.

They didn't read the proceedings. They haven't read the science. They believe him because he is charismatic and promises them things not within his power to deliver. It is a cult.

Chirp, chirp: Explaining Mass Delusions; or Why the AoAers will become even more entrenched in their positions

"I think you should let ANB respond for themselves, but I see with the complete butt stomping and absolute obliteration you and your "colleagues" have clearly endured here how you would rush to their assistance, but even with life support, your points lamely fall short. You score an A for effort if that makes you feel any better.


Hey, how much are you and your "colleagues" earning these days? Did you still get a big pharma bonus even with the disappointing uptake of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine despite high predictions and fear mongering???

Here cherry, cherry, cherry.....

Chirp, Chirp."  meinva at the Tribune's OSR#1 post

If meinva can believe that his/her, bensmyson, and ccdaddy57's comments over at the Trib's OSR article constitute evilpossum, ANB, E-manual, and DadofCameron taking a "complete butt stomping and absolute obliteration," then it should be clear that folks who hold tightly to the vaccines/autism theory aren't interested in objective reality. But, to be fair, since meinva thinks the chirp, chirp canard is witty, what can you expect?
 
Self-justification* is a real ass-biter. One single solitary step at a time, folks go down their rabbitholes. That's how they end up there. When you get to wondering how folks can sprinkle industrial mining chelators on their children's breakfast foods, that's how they did it. One little step at a time.
 
Once you're there in the woo-hole so deep you can't see any light, you're gonna begin to think the dimness is the way it's always been, that it was never light, that you never liked the light, and the the light is bad, wrong, and immoral. In other words, you aren't coming out of there any time soon. Hard to be the one up on firm ground, looking down at the folks in the woo-hole and understand how they managed to get themselves in that predicament and why with all evidence pointing to the error of their ways they persist in insisting in the rightness of their choices. Self-justification. One step at a time. Right into the hole, baby.
 
The problem with this is, in a larger sense, that we're all one step away from our own holes and dropping into them One step. At a time, self-justifying all the way down.
 
We make decisions. We take action. Then, looking back on the decisions, we do what we have to in order to make that decision okay. For some that means continuing onwards and downwards further into the woo hole, all while being absolutely certain in the rightness of our course of action and how stupid everyone who disagrees with us is.
 
The folks at AoA won't cut and run from Wakefield, despite today's ruling. After all, they think the paper by Krigsman replicates Wakesfield's study and shows that vaccines caused intestinal issues. It does neither. And it becomes obvious that they don't read the papers.
 
After all, look at this:
 
"If the Lancet case report did not say MMR causes autism, and if his collection of biopsies for research purposes was pre-approved by the Ethical Practices Committee, why is there a case against Dr. Wakefield (and colleagues)?


Medical authorities in the UK (and the United States) do not like it when licensed medical professionals ask questions about vaccine safety. Licensed medical professionals and medical researchers who question vaccine safety are more difficult to dismiss than parents who notice adverse reactions after vaccination.

The prosecution of Dr. Wakefield, Professor Walker-Smith and Professor Murch is an example and warning to other licensed medical professionals and researchers. The warning is clear: if you question the safety of a vaccine, you put your license and career at risk."

 
Yes, that's what this is all about. Wakefield stood up to the man and they took him down. Sure it is. It will be all but impossible for them to admit that Wakefield behaved unethically (and continues to do so with his practice in Austin, where he is not licensed to practice--I know, I'm sure he sees no patients, just as upheld the agreement in the UK not to), that his study did not find what they believe it did (and they back away from that in the FAQ on AoA today), and that there is no body of evidence for their outlandish beliefs. Being wrong is easy. We all do that daily. Admitting you were wrong is the tricky part. It feels like shit. And to admit you were gullible, that you went down your own woo-hole, means you're going to have to deal with feeling like a schmuck. The smart schmucks accept that it is only by admitting when we are wrong, suffering the slings and arrows, that we can get closer to the truth. It comes down to wanting to feel good about yourself at all costs or being willing to suffer some psychic discomfort in order to grow as a person. And an honest person will admit we have a bit of both in each of us.
 
 
*For an excellent and easily digested read on the psychology of self-justification (and how we're all prone to it) read Tavris and Aronson's Mistakes Were Made (but not by me).

1/27/2010

Little Known Skeptics: "so similar to darkness and light"


Not only is Joe Mercola a tanning bed salesman and woo-seller extraordinaire, as Orac noted the other day, he's a class act. There's this thing called the Shorty Award for twitter; I don't do a lot with twitter: 140 characters to get one's message across? Egads. Not my idea of fun. There are different categories, and the voting is, in essence, a popularity vote. Now, apparently the woo is strong in many, so Mike Adams, someone I had not run across or read until this week, thanks to Orac, has like 25,000 fans on facebook. Oh, it gets better. Mercola has over 63,000 fans. Holy cow. And having 63,000 fans has led to Mercola's big head and boneheaded rant the other day over the fact that Dr. Rachie had over taken him for the health category.

Of course, he's "apologized" in the above text for his previous rant. He doesn't waste any time being the bigger man, though:






I mean, really? He's the one who wrote this:

"An arrogant group of science bloggers that have vilified me for the past few years have started a campaign to have an Australian shill to win a health award on Twitter. This overweight non-physician has arrogantly bashed nearly every alternative therapy and encourages reliance on drugs."
Bitter much?

Why yes:
"A band of "science" wackos have decided to promote a unknown Australian "doctor" who bashes all natural medical therapies. She wants to push vaccines and drug therapies for all."

Why do the wackaloons feel the need to put science in quotes?

Oh for goodness sake! Mercola pushes three thousand dollar tanning bed so you can get vitamin D! Man done sold his soul to the woo gods a long time ago. He's made his money on the backs of desperate people. Instead of promoting evidence based therapies, he promises unrealistic cures based on slipshod and downright shoddy science, and that's when the woo he's promoting has actually had any scientific studies done. He consistently gets it wrong, and people lap it up like it's ambrosia.

I get wanting to live better, feel better. I get wanting to cure our ailments. I get that modern medicine doesn't always afford us that cure and that it cannot restore health and vitality. I even get that many medicines come with side effects that are worse than the disease they are treating, so that a person can be left struggling with which to deal with: the side effect or the original problem. I get, having been recipient of less than standard or even stellar care, after having family members deal with less than adequate care, that mistakes happen, too. I am not, nor or the skeptics or the science "wackos" I read and/or am friends with, suggesting that modern medicine is flawless and the answer to all our current ailments. But you know what? I'll take evidence based medicine any day over woo. I'll look for my answers to what ails me with my doctors, with modern medicine and science before I'll look to Mercola, Ullman, and Chopra. At least Chopra can make the woo sound pretty.

Mercola thinks that folks who don't buy his woo have been brainwashed. His woo has become a religious cause to him and he wants his followers to help him lead us into the light, his mystical, magical woo light of alternative medicine:



Ummm, we'll pass, won't we? With his kind of light, it's so dark, isn't it? I've got some magic water sure to fix that, though. :-)

Absurdities and Beyond: AoA Over the Edge

 "1 out of seven boys autistic yawn" --concerned mom

Stagliano's thread on cancer getting more attention than autism continues. Someone managed to get the comment from the Autism Web Forum that Jeanette posted here on over at AoA, which is miraculous. Of course, the powers that be at AoA may have realized they get more foot traffic there if they let comments on that allow their wackaloons the opportunity to spout off nonsense like the quote above. That's right, someone over there thinks that 14% of boys have autism. And that tylenol deaths should be getting more attention. See, if you misdirect people's attention with the tylenol deaths and the epidemic--14%! of autism, then we can ignore that Haley's taking desperate people's money and giving them a chemical used in mining.

They've made the argument that it must be okay, as you have to go through a doc, and not just any doc, to get OSR. Haley's using scarcity to promote increased desire for a product, to give it the varnish of exclusivity and acceptability, as well.

But, let's go back to concerned mom. She writes:

"really appreciate your help....your concern for my childs health is amazing actually i think its more of a CONTROL issue...I really am so frustrated obviously a personality issue with ND is CONTROL, CONTROL, CONTROL.... could you go control something that doesn't effect my family personally thanks..."

Yes, writing about safety concerns and the desire to have appropriate clinical trials, protections, etc. is all about control. I do believe the ones with control issues are the folks like these who think that they should have the control over what they put into their children's bodies, no matter the evidence for its safety.

These are the same people who argue that because they had the right to abort but didn't, they should have the right to do what ever they want.

I present to you Stagliano's assertion that since she didn't abort, but could have, whatever she wants should be good to go:




Says Benson (01/19/2010, 1:03 PM ):
"Now if I were to learn that a neighbor was using a known neuro-toxin on their child to supposedly help a child avoid a chronic illness and it wasn't a vaccine, or a black labeled anti psychotic medication like Risperdal but something like what, antrax or a drain cleaner? Yeah I would call social services.


But let's say the child has cancer and the parent doesn't want to put the child through chemo or radiation therapy. Instead the parent believes he can pray or cut the throat of a goat, or use herbs and tonics, what do I know. It is the right of the parent to do what they feel is best. I've known of stories where people claim miracles of healing. I used to be a practitioner of martial arts, broke bricks, saw a man hold a burning coal in his hand and not get a blister from it. I've had an acupuncturist stick a needle in my hand and i got so stoned from it I couldn't get my head off the table. Do I understand how any of that works? Nope.

OSR as far as I know has done nothing but aid children in removing toxins from their body. If you have any other information that disputed that Id love to hear it because Im thinking of trying it."

Bolding and italics are mine. Benson truly believes that whatever they feel is best is okay. Unless its drano. So, laying of hands? Good. Sacrficing goats? Good. Withholding potentially lifesaving medical care? Good. Chelation and all the other assorted quackery? Good.
 
Anyone doubting that these children are, by many of these parents, viewed as commodities or goods that they, the parents, get to decide how to deal with rather than individuals with the right to be protected from abuse and neglect (whatever the form that takes)?

1/26/2010

Eyes Should Be Burning: The Irony of Stagliano's Position on OSR

It's a two-for kind of day, and no doubt it will make Stagliano feel the warm, soft fuzzies for me, but thanks to Sullivan providing the link to the Chicago Tribune's pdf copy, the paperwork that CTI provided to the FDA is available for review. If Stagliano keeps supporting OSR after a week of so of this paperwork being available, well, we can safely say, it ain't about the truth, it ain't about safety, and all our eyes should be burning at the hypocrisy of her position.



Nice, huh? Ya'll should take a look at the document. It's illuminating. And it appears that Haley is breaking the law, too, by offering this for sale. I wonder if the FDA will act?

Conflating the Issue: Not Wanting Bunk Treatments is NOT the Same as Not Wanting Treatment

Stagliano really didn't appreciate having her use of a barely tested industrial chelating agent on her children called into question. At all. Of course, if you were sprinkling something that had no published studies on it, didn't pass the sniff test with the FDA, had a one page faq on its safety, all in the misguided belief that it would cure your children, especially after you'd hawked it on your newspaper blog, you'd be defensive, too. You come off looking at best like a hypocrite since you've called for more studies, more studies, more studies. Never mind that there are countless studies on vaccines' efficacy and safety. They didn't promise to cure your children of autism and lift the burden you feel right off your shoulders like the bastions of woo do.

So, how can we be surprised with Stagliano's latest offering, "75 Year Olds with Cancer Get Treatment. Autistic Toddlers Doomed To Diagnosis For Life?" We've read AoA; we've read Stagliano, haven't we? We aren't surprised at all. Mildly impressed at her ability to twist things to fit her skewed version of reality, though, aren't we?
"There appears to be a concerted effort to make sure autism is seen as untreatable, and to paint those of us who dare treat our kids as fools."
And yet, I don't know of anyone saying autism isn't treatable. I don't know of anyone saying we shouldn't work to help our children achieve their potential. As to painting quacks willing to do anything to their child to make them into the idealized version of normality fools, I'd disagree. That behavior doesn't make them fools. It makes them desperate. It makes them dangerous. It undoubtedly pushes some of them over the line into abusive, but it doesn't make them fools.

Now Thelma might argue that they're dumbasses, all the way around, but we'd have to ask her.

1/24/2010

IACC Members: Flat Earthers Because They Acknowledge Autism Not Caused By Vaccines

"IACC lists parents who are related to each other, specifically parents who are first and second cousins as a major causation factor."  --Katie Wright


The IACC (Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee) released its 2009 Strategic Plan recently, and of course, Katie Wright was up at bat over at Age of Autism to take her swings at the committee. It's pretty darn obvious why the vaccine-damaged front is pissed with the IACC. The IACC isn't having any part of the vaccines bit:

"An Institute of Medicine workshop held in 2007 summarized what is known and what is needed in this field (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2007). Numerous epidemiological studies have found no relationship between ASD and vaccines containing the mercury based preservative, thimerosal (Immunization Safety Review Committee, 2004). These data, as well as subsequent research, indicate that the link between autism and vaccines is unsupported by the research literature."

So, what can you do, if you are a militant believer that big pharma stole your child away? Focus on the inbreeding, naturally.

Katie Wright insists that the IACC lists this "parental inbreeding" in the IACC's report: "Finally, I just re- read the “What causes autism?” section of the IACC’s plan." I've read the IACC's 2009 strategic plan several times now, and nowhere is there any reference to shared ancestry. There is, however, a discussion of a study that examined this on the IACC's website, specifically on the Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research: Calendar Year 2008 under Risk Factors:

"While there seem to be a variety of genes which contribute to the development of autism, researchers found a common biological link between several identified in one study of families with shared ancestry.29 The study examined 88 families with autistic children where parents were first or second cousins. Nineteen of the families studied had two or more cases of autism. Related parents are more likely to have genetic similarities, so studying them increases the likelihood of finding rare recessive genetic traits that are contributing to the family history of autism."

This seems a bit of a misdirect on Wright's part. No links, no specific title, but the suggestion is clear when she uses plan that she means the 2009 Strategic Plan JUST released rather than a summary of autism research.

The IACC does not recommend research into the role of vaccines in autism in its plan. It attempts, though, to appease parents believing vaccines to have played a role in their child's autism by writing:

"To address public concerns regarding a possible vaccine/ASD link, it will be important over the next year for the IACC to engage the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) in mutually informative dialogues. The NVAC is a Federal advisory committee chartered to advise and make recommendations regarding the National Vaccine Program. Communication between the IACC and NVAC will permit each group to be informed by the expertise of the other, enhance coordination and foster more effective use of research resources on topics of mutual interest. Examples of such topics include: studies of the possible role of vaccines, vaccine components, and multiple vaccine administration in ASD causation and severity through a variety of approaches; and assessing the feasibility and design of an epidemiological study to determine whether health outcomes, including ASD, differ among populations with vaccinated, unvaccinated, and alternatively vaccinated groups."

In other words, the IACC will talk the the NVAC about possible research topics, but it will not clutter up its autism research plans with the matter. It doesn't shut the issue down completely. It's a hedge, a conciliatory gesture. It ought to be apparent, though, with AoA and Wright's use of the kissing cousins and subsequent derision over there that there is no conciliatory approach possible with true believers. If you aren't fundamentalists like them, then you are Judases. They have no use for you and engage in a scorched earth policy. Why hedge? There's no scientific evidence. That's acknowledged.
 
You have to love that Wright, if you managed to keep reading her post, then calls the scientists and committee members "earth is flat society advocates":
 
"Despite the fact autism is an extremely heterogeneous disease this earth is flat society advocates studying parental inbreeding as a possible cause of autism, not adjuvants, the effects of combination vaccines or a host of other important environmental factors. Doesn’t that just say it all?"


Well, doesn't that just say it all?

1/22/2010

The Kitchen Sink Of Serious Anti-Vaxers: When Reason and Logic Fail

"evilpossum and possey; as God is my witness you will stand in judgement for this selling of the vaccine damaged children. One day you will answer to God not me! for all the lies and deciet you use to make your living. Eternity my friend is for ever so I hope selling your soul was worth it. I believe one day you will see the faces of the suffering children, and I believe before you see hell God will allow you to feel the pain that these children felt. And make no mistake you will think about it for all Eternity, and remember it is forever. I believe your screen name says it all; evilpossum"

                                       ccdaddy57 (01/22/2010, 4:27 PM )


Oh my cosmos, we're selling vaccine damaged children now! But who is buying these vaccine injured children? And what's the resale value, really? Okay, I kid. Really.

Moving on, does ccdaddy57 mean he won't stand before God in judgment or that "evilpossum and possey" will stand before God and not before CC (for short)? The rest is just downhill, isn't it? If this comment didn't make you all rosy with the contemplation of what awaits those who disagree with anti-vaxers, CC offers this up:

"Evilpossum and other friends of pharma; your words were when we were talking about fetal tissue and fetal retnas being used to culture a vaccines was it 's
not in the end product. So what! So the readers are to understand that you have no problem using an aborted baby to make a vaccine with. In this case, may I say you and your ilk are SICK!"

                              ccdaddy57 (01/22/2010, 4:43 PM )

Ilk? Ilk? Seriously? Ilk? Is that like a special codeword the anti-vaxers get together and agree to use about anyone who disagrees? Do they see themselves as secret superheroes fighting the dastardly never-do-wells? Is that it? Holy cow! Or is it possible that we've seen this ccdaddy before? Probably just a coincidence. But really, they should get together and agree to spread out the lingo some, be imaginative rather than derivative.

Yeah, I may have discontinued commenting on the Trib thread once bensmyson started on his constant 'would you reboot your kid' shtick and meinva's incredibly annoying "chirp chirp chirp" nonsense, but I've been perusing it to see just how silly it would get and how long the three rational guys (two of them friends of mine, the third I'd certainly consider one, if we ever "met") would continue to hash it out. And silly it's certainly been. There's the typical stuff of inaccurate information. And then there's the quote at the top. It beats out bensmyson for the most absurd statement of the week by the antivaxers. It was a close one, though, what with bensmyson's:

"If you had three wishes would one of them be that your son would be free from autism? Changed in an instant, completely restored, rebooted?"

And this by him as well:

"The entire CTI Science FAQ page was sent to both the reporter and her editor before the article was published."

That entire FAQ page was one page. This man goes on and on about vaccines and studies every place he can, but he's happy with a one page FAQ. That's good enough for him and it's obviously more than good enough for Stagliano.

There's plenty of over-the-top statements to be found, though, and not just at the Trib's comments. They're on facebook, they're on forums, like Mothership Captain wrote on today.

I found the forum she wrote about, and these parents go on about anxiety and wondering why, after they've stuck suppositories up their nearly sleeping children's rear ends while the dads "wrestle them:

"Anyone see increased anxiety with this?"


Day after day, month after month (and I don't care if you're doing this 3 days on/11 days off) of sticking suppositories up their rears and they wonder why? Why the child might be anxious? Why behavior might change? Gee, dad holds me down while mom sticks stuff up my bum every night and I hear them talking about how I'm damaged and need to be recovered and this is sure to do it. Maybe, once I'm through being traumatized, I'll make sure to watch my stims  and other behaviors they don't like so maybe they won't do that to me every night as I'm falling asleep. You think?
 
Still, there's no shortage, as we've seen this week, of folks willing to suspend all rational thought.

Naturopathic Woo Woo: We'll Take Your Magic Water and Raise Your "Super Conscience Mind" : Ya Ain't Usin Most of it Anyways

Thelma posted this awhile back on EDHF and has modified it some for reposting here:


We already know that homeopathy is magic water. Nothin in it but the pure-dee memory shaken up right. We know that's woolicious in its own right, but in and of itself, reckon it won't outright kill them misguided folks unless they're stupid enough to substitute the woo for real medicine. What about naturopathy, though?

Accordin to the NIH (right disappointin, too):

"Naturopathy, also called naturopathic medicine, is a whole medical system—one of the systems of healing and beliefs that have evolved over time in different cultures and parts of the world. Naturopathy is rooted in health care approaches that were popular in Europe, especially in Germany, in the 19th century, but it also includes therapies (both ancient and modern) from other traditions... Naturopathy aims to support the body's ability to heal itself through the use of dietary and lifestyle changes together with CAM therapies such as herbs, massage, and joint manipulation., the emphasis is on supporting health rather than combating disease."

Alrighty, so it's holistic, it developed over time and it uses woo along with diet and lifestyle changes. We're all down with diet and lifestyle changes to improve your health. No problem there. Massage is something we're all in favor of, as well. Makes a body feel good is what I'm sayin. You can align my chakras any time, as long as we know there ain't any such thing, ifn ya ken me.  And the point is to support folks who are already doin fine and dandy, not in helpin those who are already sick. Ya need to take that in and mind it carefully, is my fine point: "the emphasis is on supporting health rather than combating disease."

Alrighty, ya got yourself them folks who like the herbal remedies, and ain't we used em all. Mamma H is always throwing herbs at me. Usually to get me an altered consciousness, but hey, I ain't complainin. So, ifn someone wants to throw the mumbo jumbo woo at healthy yuppies with too much time and money on their hands, and give them some massages along with it, and ain't nobody sick and sufferin thinkin this woo is gonna cure what ails them, then I can live and let live.

Now, the NIH has this to say about naturopathy and it's worth heeding:

"Naturopathy focuses upon treatments considered "natural," but it is not without risk.


Education and training in naturopathy vary widely. Ask about a practitioner's education and training, as well as any licensing or certification.

Rigorous research on naturopathic medicine as a whole medical system  is taking place but is at an early stage."

Accordin to the NIH, there are various practitioners.

Ya got naturopathic physicians who get themselves a degree of "N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine)":
"Naturopathic physicians are educated and trained in a 4-year, graduate-level program at one of the four U.S. naturopathic medical schools accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education."

Ya got "traditional naturopaths" who might not know crap about the human body and who ain't regulated noways-nohow:

"Education and training for these practitioners typically consists of correspondence courses, an apprenticeship, and/or self-teaching. Admission requirements for schools can range from none, to a high school diploma, to specific degrees and coursework. Programs vary in length and content. They are not accredited by agencies recognized for accreditation purposes by the U.S. Department of Education. Traditional naturopaths are not subject to licensing."

And then ya got your "licensed conventional medical providers" with a little somethin extra to provide their clients who like a little mumbo jumbo woo on the side.




Okay, now, ya got a feel for this yet? Ya might see a regular doc with some woo on the side. Ya might get one who's got four years of training and a ND degree and who is licensed and regulated. Or ya might get a self-taught or bought naturopath who couldn't tell you where your pancreas is let alone your metatarsal.
The NIH goes on to write about what you get for your money, cuz insurance sure as hell ain't payin for this shit. Maybe the massage. Maybe. And maybe if its your regular doc with a little woo on the side, but not the self-anointed quacks. Nope that's your hard earned money going right on out your pocket. Uh-huh is what I'm sayin.

"Dietary changes (for example, eating more whole and unprocessed foods)


Vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements

Herbal medicine

Counseling and education on lifestyle changes

Homeopathy

Hydrotherapy (for example, applying hot water, then cold water)

Manual and body-based therapies such as manipulation and mobilization

Exercise therapy

Mind-body therapies such as yoga and meditation — such as focusing attention or maintaining a specific posture — to suspend the stream of thoughts and relax the body and mind.
Some practitioners use other treatments as well."
Done bolded the woo for you.


To the main course for ya: say ya wanted to be a naturopath and help healthy folks part with their hard earned money, but ya don't want to go with the ND or the conventional doctor thing, but ya want some
respectability, somethin ta put after your name that gives ya an air of legitimacy. Well, here's something interestin for readers to know. According to Education-Portal.com, "No Ph.D. programs in naturopathy currently exist."

Let's say, then, that you've got your hopes pinned on that ND. Thelma's done some diggin, since this is of some fair import. According to the Association of Accredited Naturpathic Medical Colleges, there are six places in North America you can get an ND degree. And you can go to Clayton College of Natural Medicine to get yourself a doctorate of education in holistic health and wellness.  Clayton's also got some master's degrees, too.

As for licensing, the American Naturopathic Medical Association (can I say I almost did a Jon Stewart) has been around since 1981 and says it's America's largest and oldest and has 4000 members; ain't licensing or accreditation. Ya can go through the licensing with the American Naturopathic Medical Certification Board. Or ya can skip it altogether, I reckon, since some states ain't payin no never mind and ain't got no laws governin the woo sellers.

Alrighty then, we've had a whirlwind tour of naturopathy and given you some ideas of what we mean when we talk about naturopathy and what's woo in it and what's not. But that was just the beginning, because it turns out that what the NIH thinks is going on and what the accredited colleges have going on are a damn site different than what you can find boots on the ground. Kim sent me a website, that's it, that's all, and asked me to look at it. See what I thought. See if there wasn't something I wanted to explore while I was alone and bored. I want ya to know, folks, ifn ya ain't figured it out yet, that Thelma and boredom are a powerfully dangerous combination, sort of on the same level with Kim with time on her hands. Ya get the two of us experiencing those states at the same time and woo-ey are ya in for a world of hurt if you get crossways with us, is what I'm sayin.

This here website she passed along is a  couple of naturopathic practioners' website. Now, what immediately caught my eye as I got to roamin this site is this here bit: the page on services. Now, remember how the NIH said it was about healthy folks, right, not the fightin of sickness? Well, right here we see these folks going well past those bounds and are offering natural remedies for things like ALS, HIV, MS, lupus, and other autoimmune diseases.

Are ya kiddin me? Ya go right on and put your lives, ifn ya got life-threatenin diseases, in the hands of folks who think the magic water is real, as these folks do and who are gonna diagnose ya, I kid ya not with things like the Quantum SCIO and QXCI. Now, you seriously have to go read these two links, I am for reals serious with this, Thelma is. Go and read these two sites and sit and ponder on anyone believin such woo. Ya don't even need to be tipsy to laugh your ass off, either. Comedic relief right there in them two pages is what I am sayin.  It gets even richer on the website itself: "The Quantum is reading your Super-Conscience mind. 90% of your Super conscience mind is not being used."


Nosirreee bob's your uncle, I can all but guarantee that ain't happenin on any level whatsoever. The doohickey ain't doin no such thing. Super-conscience mind with a little bit of myth about the 10% of your mind. Now, Thelma would usually say dumbass at this point, but we're softer, gentler, but I don't even reckon this fella is  misguided or with all the tools he needs. Because ifn he were equipped with all the cosmos-given tools, he'd know better. He'd see. But, nope, don't work that way none, I reckon, cuz the site is filled with all sorts of the absolute nonsensical, like the whole idea of electrodermal screening.

It gets better, or worse dependin on your frame of mind. In addition to the body scan and the screening doohickey, they've got a pricy memory program to fix everyone of everything. Now, this one is mighty interestin. Of course, the problem is ya ain't usin that 90 percent of your super conscience mind, ya know, so I guess ya go to this program after the scan tells ya what ya need to know about all your issues, like your "brain balances" and your "emotional balances" and every last thing that done ever gone wrong: "The information given is reading information from your entire lifetime. If you have toxins from childhood vaccination shot, they will be detected. If you lived in a house that had or has asbestos, it will be detected etc etc…. Also if you have had an emotional trauma that is hindering your health, that will also be detected."


So what do ya get for partin with a huge chunk of your change (coulda bought yourself a nice new flatscreen tv is what I'm sayin and season three of MacGyver)?

Well, this here memory program is gonna fix ya up. Accordin to the website, "If you are having a hard time staying focused and on task then this program is for you."

Well, who ain't, now that we know we is only usin so little of our mind, right? What's the program gonna do for me, "doc"?

 "This program targets the timing circuits in the brain which send impulses for all motor and mental activities."

Oh, hell's bells, that's gotta be why the emperor and I been a little off on our timin, if ya ken me. Tell me more, ya naturopathic doctors who can scan my electricity and know ever livin thing about me. And to think them real medical doctors have them CT scans and MRIs. Shoo-ey.

"There are programs in the brain that make sure that all impulses go to the appropriate muscles at the appropriate time for different functions When these timing circuits are not hitting properly some muscles might move to early, some too late or some not at all."

I am pure-dee amazed at what these folks know! Programs in the brain? We is computer programs gone glitchy, apparently. Not hittin what properly? Where is these programs? These timing circuits?

 "In other words, these timing circuits are essential for coordination."

I wonder ifn they is talkin bout the cerebellum? Wonder what that's got to do with memory?

"The Memory Works program has shown to improve confidence, focus, concentration, memory, academic achievement, mental clarity, social interaction, maturity, musical ability, athletic performance, rhythm and motor skills."

Shoo-ey, that is amazin! It does everythin but say it'll fix your bedroom problems! Mayhap that's the rhythm?

"The one commone thread for all of the areas listed above is that they are based on timing."

Well, I ain't right certain I see how timin is to blame for everythin up there, although I reckon if your timin's off in the bedroom, it might impact your confidence and your concentration. Maybe.

"The timing comes from the timing relationship between the brain and the body."

Sure, sure, Thelma hears you. Right. What I'm tryin to wrap my head around right now is we got two guys claimin to have ND degrees that done took four years to earn on top of their other degrees that don't look like they were complete bunk, although one fella shares the same master's degree that Dana Ullman has, so mayhaps the public health master's ain't a real winner for creatin critical thinkers. Tell me more, boys.

"Improving that circuit or timing can only improve any area that depends upon the accuracy of that timing."

Thelma is thinkin that after readin the body scan page and this one, folks gonna need somethin to help improve their mental clarity is what I'm sayin. Well, fellas, bring it home for me.

"The Whole Body Healing Center has personally witnessed improvements with young people who had been labeled ADD and/or ADHD and has seen the benefits of the program when used to increase athletic performance and concentration. The program has also been used with autistic children as well."


And that's what ya get for a good sized flat screen tv. Ya get 12 office visits. Mayhaps some of their Memory Works pills or do ya have to pay for that separate? What about the scan? Is that included? Whatch gonna do in them 12 sessions? Notice how they don't tell ya?  And there at the end is, I reckon, the gold nugget. Not only are these folks goin beyond the scope of what the NIH says is naturopathy by dealin with seriously sick people who need real doctors and real medicine, they are preyin on the parents of kids with ADD and autism. Promisin shit they cain't deliver. It's alright, though, they gots their disclaimer:

"Information on this web site is not intended to replace any medical treatment prescribed by your physician.
For those with chronic medical problems or taking a regularly prescribed medication, please consult your physician."
Now, I don't know how Kim finds some of the woo she does, but I know she often finds more than she's got time to debunk. And I can reckon I understand, regardless of how she came across it, why she'd think there was lots to deal with here and why she'd pass this along to me. Kim's a fairly blunt gal, but it's hard to beat Thelma and Louise for comin straight to the point (and Louise will be home tomorrow, I now know, along with Mamma H and her new husband-- that's right, Mamma done hooked up in Vegas. Louise says he's so wrinkled she's not sure he can see a thing).

Ullman is bad enough, but he sticks to the magic water and near as we can tell he leaves the parents of autistic and ADD children alone. This, though, is woo that makes Ullman look easy on the eyes. And Thelma didn't delve that deep into this place. This was just the tip of the woo they are pushin and lining their pockets with.

These folks here ought to be ashamed is what I'm sayin.

1/21/2010

Stagliano/AoA Make Their Contradictory Stance Clear and all in 140 Characters



It's not like the irony wasn't rich, deep, and fecund over there earlier today, when Stagliano tweeted "Oops, This is what we do Tanner'sDad. We support one another. KS" on the same day she posted "Ms. Chew and I were in an anthology together - I wrote about how and why I fight for my kids. She wrote about being a blade of grass and bending to the wind of autism and spoke at an event I attended a...bout how her son taught HER to get over her fear of swimming. We are about helping our kids - they are about making themselves feel better. I've no time to dabble in their world."

Now, she tweets that OSR has undergone extensive testing and links to the joke of a faq page I've already discussed in a previous post. She's happy with one page that gives absolutely no detailed information, no proof of who it was tested on and how many? Seriously? She and the others at AoA go on and on about there hasn't been enough testing, adequate testing, blah, blah, ad nauseum on vaccines, but one rinky dink page is good for her to put this industrial chelator on her children's food?

CTI gives a one page frikking pdf file, which I detailed in my post over the weekend, with the single pure and the two natural compounds all at the same time, and Stagliano is good with that level of information. Great with that in fact. In fact, she calls it the TRUTH? But hundreds of pages of studies involving tens of thousands of children showing no evidence for a link between vaccines and autism and she's still not convinced? Even though her youngest was never vaccinated but is on the spectrum.

You have to be incredibly obtuse to not see the glaring, overt, blinding contradictory nature of this. One page, one man saying this will recover your kids and you buy into it big time. Based on the plugs for it that she's given, one could argue that she is an OSR shill and an MB12 pop shill. Really. How many advertising dollars does AoA take from their sponsors?

Stagliano's made some questionable decisions this last year as managing editor. Stumbled. Shown some serious pettiness (today in fact). If you've read her over the years, you can see the descent into bitterness. I know she and her family have had some rough times. I know raising three children is hard work, and even harder when they have disabilities. And there are posts of hers I've really enjoyed. There's no way to say that to her, no way to go, hey I related to your sleep post. Nice work. Why isn't there? Well, Stagliano's world is flat, two-dimensional. You either are on her side or you're her enemy. It's an all or nothing world she lives in.
What a real shame on many levels. Especially when it's clear from her personal posts about her children that she loves them deeply and would do anything for them. That's the problem, though, isn't it? She'd do anything all in a misguided belief that in doing so she will prove how heroic she is, how far she'd go to recover them, how much better she is than any parent who doesn't go to her lengths. I get working hard to help your child do well, feel well, improve, be happy, and I applaud those efforts. I applaud her willingness to bake for her children, to make them safe foods (and can relate to the work involved, having spent four years on the GFCF diet with my children. WITH them, no cheating, either), to work hard to get them the services they need. She's done a lot that demonstrates her love for her children.

To paint her as a woman who has done nothing right, done only harmful things, would be as two-dimensional as she and her (oh dare I steal Linderman's "ilk"?) supporters are about those of us who have not sunk into the bottomless abyss of woo. Many of these parents are well-intentioned; they've just bought into a dubious theory that's been thoroughly debunked (and I've said many times, we can get along, we can be friends if we treat that like religion and politics-- background that isn't a part of our friendship; as long as you want to move forward, love your kids, help them achieve their potential, make the world a softer place, we're good).

Still, as long as the snake oil salesman promise parents the sky and mainstream medicine promises them that some things can't be "cured," there will always be people to buy the woo. And how dare we try to take away their "hope"? Ummmmm.... False hope isn't hope. Woo isn't real and it's a waste of your time and energy. Nothing replaces the hard work of actually engaging your children, helping them build skills. Nothing. There are no magic industrial chelators masking as antioxidants that will make it all go away.

Someday and someday soon, this generation of autistic children will reach adulthood. Far too many of them will have grown up hearing they were stolen away, lost, destroyed, damaged and that they needed to be cured, saved, and recovered. How bitter you think they are gonna be? What kind of self-esteem issues you think they are gonna have? How will they know they are value when they were so devalued? How will they know they matter, not some illusory ideal them who never existed? We have an obligation to those who have very real barriers to their success in society to treat them as equal, valued members. It goes beyond lip service. We have to find a way to show respect for their innate value as human beings, appreciation for what they have to offer, while working with them to remove the barriers. We have to do it with compassion, empathy, realism, and commitment.

The games being waged in the autism wars get in the way of this. There's no excuse for being so hellbent on your belief system that you engage in startling lack of judgment that Stagliano has engaged in with defending OSR while dissing parents who do not buy into her world view. It's not solely on her shoulders, though. She has too many compatriots in arms at AoA and similar groups who high-five each other and continue this nonsense, who actually think this comment is an acceptable, reasonable one:
"You want a cure for autism or not? If you had three wishes would one of them be that your son would be free from autism? Changed in an instant, completely restored, rebooted? Yes or no? Really is a simple question can't for the life of me understand why you won't answer it publicly."

                      ---- bensmyson (01/20/2010, 7:58 AM )

How does wanting to reboot your child not show how little respect you have for his innate value as a human being? How does one justify this statement?

1/20/2010

When Scientists Go To the Chopra Side: Lanza Take Two -- Glowworms aren't as sexy as bass

Lanza's back at Huff with his latest piece, "Judgment Day is Coming: Science Suggests Justice is Inescapable." Sometimes the absurd is inescapable as well. Lanza, having thrown out all critical reasoning, or having none left over after all his quantum selves were through sorting through the skills box, has shifted over to Chopra-sized woo. Must be more money in quantum mysticism than in stem cell research. Lanza waxes poetical in his new piece where he attempts to show that science will make sure the meek will indeed inherit the earth.

"Will kind people be rewarded for their good deeds?"
Yes, because this is a major focus of science. It's such a testable concept.
"Will the wicked be punished?"

Oh, for frak's sake, I hope so. I can't wait to see what he says science has to say. I mean, it'd be so much easier if we could all rest easy knowing the dirtbags of the here and now will get their comeuppance some day.
"Yes, according to a new interpretation of recent experiments."

Thank the quantum realities. The scientists have done some experiments and shown it to be so. So much better than taking the bible (any religion, pick one) at its word.
"Although our science is too primitive for us to fully comprehend, there is a direct and proportional price to pay for any act of cruelty or injustice."
You know, this man is supposedly this great mind like Einstein. He says so, anyways. If our science is so primitive, seems to me that we'd undertand. I think he screwed up here and meant that our science is too primitive for us to understand that there is blah blah the rest of the junk. Doesn't matter, though, as either way this is stupid. If our science is too primitive for us to get how this proportionality of justice being meted out, then we don't in fact know this to be true. It's still pie-in-the-sky bullshit. If our science is too primitive for us to understand the science, well, that's just ass-backwards.
"Science suggests that there are consequences to our actions that transcend our ordinary, classical way of thinking."
Prove it. Unless he has a friend named Science? You know, this general non-specific appeal to authority is frikking annoying.
"Emerson, it turns out, was right: 'Every crime is punished, every virtue rewarded, every wrong redressed, in silence and certainty.'"
Name drop. Look at me, I'm well read. And mystical and shit.Why's everything being handled with in silence? Too bad Lanza didn't do this silently. In his head alone was the best place for this drivel. I bet he's in an altered state of consciousness when he's writing this stuff.

"I remember fishing on a warm summer night. Now and then I could feel the vibrations along the line linking me with the life prowling about the bottom. At length I pulled some bass, squeaking and gasping into the air. It was a puzzle to feel a tug, and to be conscious in that precise moment of a part of me, which, as it were, was not a part of me, but scale and fin, circling the hook, slow to strike."
Tell me he wasn't high. Dare you. Slow to strike what? I am me, stoned on the side of the pond. I am the bass at the bottom of the pond too stupid to not take the bait. I am a masochist since I am both me, stoned on the bank, and the dumbass bass with the hook in the side of my mouth.


"Surely this is what Spinoza, the great philosopher, meant when he contended that consciousness cannot exist simply in space and time, and at the same time is aware of the interrelations of all parts of space and time. In order to have knowledge of a pout or a pickerel, I must have somehow been identical with them."
Yeah, probably not, He probably didn't mean you and the bass. I think Lanza uses this stuff to pick up women. Think about it. Spout that stuff off, have them confused as to what the hell pouts and pickerels are, then segue into how he understands not only the fish, having been one with them, but with the broad he's trying to hook up with as well. We're all one, baby, interconnected. Space, time, you, me, all our quantum realities. Picture it, baby, an infinite number of yous and mes all getting it on together in all possible ways. We live on forever, baby, in a continual groove.


"But how can this be? In experiments, it has been repeatedly shown that a single particle can be at two places at the same time. See the loon in the pond or the dandelion in the field. How deceptive is the space that separates them and makes them solitary. They are the subjects of the same reality that interested John Bell, who proposed the experiment that answered the question of whether what happens locally is affected by nonlocal events."

Yeah, really. I mean, pretend I'm not some tanked babe in a bar you're trying to shag, but someone who likes logic, reason and evidence. Sell me, Lanza. We're one and I'm a pout. I see the loon by the pond, if you catch me. Ack. The loon and the dandelion: one with the pout and the pickerel.

"Experiments from 1997 to 2007 have shown that this is indeed the case. Physicist Nicolas Gisin sent entangled particles zooming along optical fibers until they were seven miles apart. But whatever action they took, the communication between them happened instantaneously. Today no one doubts the connectedness between bits of light or matter, or even entire clusters of atoms. They're intimately linked in a manner suggesting there's no space between them, and no time influencing their behavior. In fact, just last year, Gisin announced a new twist on his experiment; in this case, he thinks the results will be visible to the naked eye."
Le sigh. Instantaneous communication doesn't suggest a lack of space, nor would the twin photon experiments show that Lanza is a pout and a pickerel, although reading Lanza's take on Gisin's work does reveal him to be off.

"In the same way, there is a part of us that is connected to the fish in the pond. It is the part that experiences consciousness, not in our external embodiments but in our inner being."
So we've got this hidden consciousness that we're not aware of, and it connects us to the fish.

"And although we identify ourselves with our thoughts and affections, it is an essential feature of reality that we experience the world piece by piece."

These two ideas, that we define ourselves by our thoughts and feelings and that we don't experience the world as a whole, are not mutually exclusive. There's no need for the although, and it has nothing to do with some inner being connected to a damn fish, either.


"Everything you experience is a whirl of information occurring in your head; according to Biocentrism, space and time are simply the mind's tools for putting it all together. However solid and real the walls of space and time have come to look, there is a part of us that is no more human than it is animal − even the fish, sporting there in the pond, a part of us unwittingly tempted by a bunch of worms strung on a thread."
By definition human are animals. Mammals to be specific. Yes, our perceptions are created by the sorting of sensations into meanigful bits. I guarantee you there is no manner of thought-changing that will make that very real and solid wall not cause a significant amount of pain and damage to your fist should you put it through it.
Maybe you're tempted by the worms. I wouldn't try that bit on the tanked broad at the bar. I think it would be a real sinker.

"As parts of such a whole there is justice."
That does not follow from the drivel above. I get it. Since you are both the stoned guy on the pond and the dumbass bass at the bottom, your cruelty in trying to hook the bass for sport bites you in the cheek as the bass. What comes around goes around and since we are one, you're getting fucked over by me is equivalent. See?
"The bird and the prey are one."
Told you. That's his idea of justice. It's not real justice. It's metaphorical because we are all one, man.
"This was the world that confronted me that warm summer night. From the shore I could see the shiners dimpling the water with their tails in the moonlight. A bug furrowed the water, making a conspicuous ripple, which the fishes darted at. Only two diverging lines stood between them and natural justice."
Whoa, man. Wait. If you think bugs getting eaten by fish is natural justice, maybe you need to define justice.
"Non-separability," said physicist Bernard d'Espagnat, "is now one of the most certain general concepts in physics."
Lanza is too lazy to tell us where this quote comes from, but it's one he loves. He used it in his 2007 "A New Theory of Everything." He also uses the pond, too, but a glowworm instead of a bass:

"In this same sense, there is a part of us connected to the glowworm by the pond near my house. It is the part that experiences consciousness, not in our external embodiments but in our inner being. We can only imagine and recollect things while in the body; this is for sure, because sensations and memories are molded into thought and knowledge in the brain. And although we identify ourselves with our thoughts and affections, it is an essential feature of reality that we experience the world piece by piece."
Oh wait, he rehashes quite a bit of his 2007 piece, doesn't he? Not very original. Gonna need a new pick up line. But back to this "new" piece:
"We suppose ourselves to be a pond; and if there is any consequence to our actions, if there is any justice, it must approach upon these shores. Yet that night, I sensed the union that the one man and creature has with the other. The fish and I, the criminal and the victim, are one and the same."
Are you kidding me? The criminal and victim are the same? They are one and consquently, when the criminal engages in the behavior he is reaping justice since he's the same as the victim? Bullshit. Drivel. And bunk.
"Justice is built into the fabric of nature. Make no mistake about it: it will be you who looks out the eyes of the victim. Or you can be the recipient of kindness -- whichever you choose."
No, justice is not. And no, the criminal as he acts upon his victim is not his victim. Nice. So, if you've been a victim of violence, it's because you chose it. I can't believe he didn't just stop there, you know? He keeps going, though. Who else can he piss off?


"The problem is that even web scientists are just earthworms beginning to grasp the non-linear dimensionality of nature. Heinz Pagels, the esteemed theoretical physicist, once stated: 'If you deny the objectivity of the world, unless you observe it and are conscious of it (as most physicists have), then you end up with solipsism − the belief that your consciousness is the only one.'"
Earthworms aren't grasping anything. Victims choosing to be victimized. Web scientists are earthworms and mumbo jumbo.

"This may not unsettle you, except perhaps on a warm moonlit night with a fish gasping for life at the end of your rod. I knew then, at that moment, that Pagel's conclusion was right. Only it wasn't my consciousness that was the only one, it was ours. According to biocentrism, our individual separateness is an illusion. Remember the words of Omar, who "never called the One two," and of the old Hindu poem: 'Know in thyself and All one self-same soul; banish the dream that sunders part from whole.'"
Rod? Dude, was it the fish or the glowworm?
"There was no doubt; that consciousness which was behind the youth I once was, was also behind the mind of every animal and person existing in space and time. "There are," wrote Loren Eiseley, noted anthropologist, "very few youths today who will pause, coming from a biology class, to finger a yellow flower or poke in friendly fashion at a sunning turtle on the edge of the campus pond, and who are capable of saying to themselves, 'We are all one − all melted together.'"
Can't imagine why. Quantum mechanics is so melty. Did you know that?
"Yes, I thought, we are all one. I let the fish go. With a thrash of the tail, I disappeared into the pond."

Oh, but that we could wish and dream and hope for that with that thrash Lanza disappeared.