Plenty of links below – first a little taunting of my critics which you may like to skip.
When I posted an item on this topic titled The Scandal That Will Not Go Away, I expected a heated debate but not the angry and hysterical responses I had from many people. Even more puzzling was that many of these responses seemed to my expert eye (Ive been a published writer for almost forty years) to bear a similar verbal style and use certain phrases. Ad hominem, a phrase we do not come across often outside the academic community occurred four of five times. Association fallacy, also came up and many people accused me of raking up the controversy about Andrew Wakefields discredited research into the possible link.
Well all I said about Wakefield was that his case had been used by the medical establishment to divert attention from discussion of the real issues that was going on in other countries. Hardly wholehearted and enthusiastic support is it?
I was also told repeatedly I am not a scientist and do not understand scientific enquiry. The people who made this assertion then went on to describe dialectic, which of course is very much pert of philosophical, sociological and theological debate but not much to do with science. Having worked in computers as an analyst and later a consultant for over twenty years I came to appreciate the descriptiveness of the French name for my occupation, a logician. Logic is a pure science of course whereas medical science is mostly about hocus pocus. I would be surprised if anybody reading this had not at some time been prescribed a placebo, a course of medicine in one form or another which has no active ingredient but works simply because the patient believes it is doing them good.
So having ploughed through twenty or thirty long winded replies all similar in content and of increasingly hysterical tone I have grounds to suspect some faceless person or persons have orchestrated this in an attempt to shut me up.
Which is quite amusing really.
(Thanks to all those people who posted intelligent and considered replies, it proves we can have an intelligent debate even though the licking dogs of the British Medical Association will try to silence me.)
The first item promised to bring links to the websites of American Organisations that hold very different views to our medical establishment and justify my claim that Wakefield was a scapegoat, there were many other studies conducted, those that support MMR are as inconclusive as those that suggest more research is needed. These links follow. You will find copies, reviews and extracts of documents on both sides of the argument and information about things that parents can do to help improve the quality of life of autistic children. Can anything possibly work? I am not the person to answer that so here is a paragraph from my American friend Natasha who happens to be the mother of an autistic adolescent. (letters in brackets are mine, for clarification)
Ian, as you know Cam(eron) showed signs of autism from a very early age so there is no question of vaccine damage in my case. I am from a privileged background and was able to get the best help and advice from the start. At age five the outlook was poor but therapies developed at U(niversity of) C(alifornia) Davis M.I.N.D. Center. They seemed to help a lot.
Many parents in both our group around Sacramento and in the San Francisco group have told of autism symptoms appearing in formerly happy children a few weeks after they had the MMR vaccine. Even though these tend to be mainly disorders at the higher functioning end of the spectrum it is still another human life whose potential will never be fulfilled.
The self styled scientists among my critics will dismiss this as anecdotal and irrelevant of course, but who would you rather trust, a gang of narrow minded egotistical bigots or a concerned mother who spends a lot of her time and money on campaigning for autism related charities?
At the links below you will find both sides of the case presented (in Britain we have only ever heard one as the British Medical Association seem to have decided from the outset that the MMR vaccine was above criticism. An admirably unbiased attitude from these high minded academics, if you know what I mean.
(United States) National Vaccine Information Centre
Autism and Vaccines: A New Look At An Old Problem
The cases for and against laid out in accessible language.
Next is Special Children a page from about.com that presents both arguments for and against MMR. The bigots who have attacked me in the earlier post may try to suggest the fact that arguments against appear first is somehow significant (for people who claim high minded academic detachment they are an emotional lot and are rarely troubled by logic or fair mindedness.
Autism Research Institute
An extensive site devoted to autism issues. Parents with autistic children will find this a valuable resource as it is rich in information you simply will not get in the U.K.
An academic site and not easy to find your way round. Again both sides of the argument are presented online here.
The Legal Position
As well as promising links to information sites, I promised to bring info on cases going through the US legal process now (latest available updates from June 2007) Now if you fancy some really good bedtime reading, check out the US Federal Courts transcripts of test cases to prove general causation against the MMR vaccine in the first hearing of a three trial process to establish grounds for thousands of families to launch civil proceedings against the MMR vaccine manufacturers. You can always go to the final day (day 12) of the first case in three table and read the final submissions and the summing up.
For quicker summaries of proceedings click here to go to a summary site run by the mother of one of the claimants. Check out the picture of her son Chandler and you will understand this issue is not about science at all, its about humanity.
Funny you know but the more I hang in, the more hysterical the attacks become. Keep coming suckers, youre all helping me.
Despite all this screaming that there is no issue, the case is actually progressing through the U.S. Courts. No doubt at least one of my critics will remind me that Americans are idiots. Well Ive no problem about making fun of Americas religious right and other oddball aspects of American society but lets not allow the histrionics of Holocaxxxx sorry, Autism/MMR deniers trick us into forgetting America is a civilised country. And thanks to the Wakefield case and other bizarre cover ups American medical professionals, along with those in Canada, Germany, France, Sweden, and even India think British medicine is in The Dark Ages. But even in America the Medical Establishment is in the pockets of the Pharmaceuticals Industry. Read here how a non committal report from the Institute of Medicine was misrepresented.
Finally though, I have said I will not comment on Wakefield because I am not qualified to do so (again despite my repeating this several times my critics keep referring to my assertion that the Wakefield case has been used to stifle debate as if I have made a detailed defence of his findings. Machiavelli (the clue is in the name) is a political website and all my posts are about the politics of this issue. You want a rebuttal of Wakefields critics, heres one from :
Bernard Rimland, Ph.D.
Autism Research Institute
4182 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116
Dr. Wakefield and his courageous collaborators have endured a torrent of criticism and abuse from those dedicated to silencing anyone challenging the sacred-cow status of vaccines. The fact is, vaccines are not nearly as safe, nor anywhere near as effective, as vaccination proponents claim.
Dr. Wakefield’s opponents argue, quite speciously, that he is confusing association with causation, and that the autism link may be merely “coincidental.”
I find it doubly ironic that the vaccine advocates accuse Wakefield of this elementary error in logic. That very argument was used just as wrongly–against vaccinations–by the opponents of Edward Jenner when he introduced vaccination to Europe. (It was used earlier in Asia.) Jenner’s observation that milkmaids exposed to pox-infected cows developed a resistance to smallpox was attributed to coincidence. Fortunately for today’s vaccine proponents, Jenner’s critics did not succeed in dismissing his observations as merely “coincidence.”
The second irony is that the critics who accuse Dr. Wakefield of confusing association with causation are guilty of doing that very thing–deliberately, not mistakenly–while trying to influence public policy, by claiming that vaccines cause steep declines in the incidence of disease when there is good evidence that the decline was often due to other factors — that is, to coincidence.
CLICK To read the full article and see Dr. Rimland clarify the point confusing so many of my critics, i.e. the difference between coincidence and a significant pattern of events visit this page. Same case as used against Edward Jenner eh? He died in 1823. Nobody could accuse these guys of being original.
Again no comment from me. I confine myself to political, social and economic issues. Except of course when medical people stray into my field and show complete ignorance of data analysis methodology.
Remember, all you egomaniacal junior doctors, autism is about real lives, real suffering, real pain in the real world. Your egos do not belong in the equation.