Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged autism

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Reward! $11,000 For Proof Of Bachmann's HPV-Caused "Mental Retardation" Claim

Bioethicists have joined together to offer a reward of $11,000 to anyone who can prove the child Michele Bachmann mentioned repeatedly on television this week actually became “mentally retarded” from the HPV vaccine. One of the scientists is from Bachmann’s home state of Minnesota.

The Minnesota Star Tribune reports:

Steven Miles, a U of M bioethics professor, said that he’ll give $1,000 if the medical records of the woman from Bachmann’s story are released and can be viewed by a medical professional.

His offer was upped by his former boss from the University of Minnesota, Art Caplan, who is now director of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics. Caplan said he would match Miles’ challenge and offered $10,000 for proof of the HPV vaccine victim.

"These types of messages in this climate have the capacity to do enormous public health harm," Miles said of why he made the offer. "The woman, assuming she exists, put this claim into the public domain and it’s an extremely serious claim and it deserves to be analyzed."

Stupid scientists, trying to get in the way of a good story. Bachmann retreated a little, saying that she was essentially repeating what she was told. So if she hears a rumor Canada doesn’t like us, is she going to run to the UN and launch a bombing campaign? She has no problem scaring parents across America with vaccine myths. 

I have a theory, one that was touched on by Crooks and Liars as well. Bachmann meant to say autism, based on debunked claims about vaccines and autism, and conflated it with mental retardation - two entirely different diagnoses. That woman may exist, and may have told Bachmann her daughter developed autism from vaccination. Here’s the problem - Let’s pretend, in an alternate bizarro universe, that vaccines could cause autism. The HPV vaccine is given most commonly at 12 years of age. According to the Mayo Clinic, children show symptoms at a very young age, sometimes as young as 12 months. The symptoms of autism would have been apparent long before age 12.

So long story short, Bachmann is probably full of it, and this woman either doesn’t exist, or is repeating the anti-vaccine myth that has been debunked many times over. It’s going to be tough for her to fully walk this one back. She justified it by saying, “I’m not a doctor, I’m not a scientist, I’m not a physician.” Oh, you’re not? So it wasn’t intended to be a factual statement? Then quit spreading misinformation.

Filed under HPV vaccine politics Michele Bachmann seriously? Reward called your bluff autism mental retardation debate science Teabate

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Retracted autism study an 'elaborate fraud,' British journal finds

A now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines was an “elaborate fraud” that has done long-lasting damage to public health, a leading medical publication reported Wednesday.

An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study’s author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study — and that there was “no doubt” Wakefield was responsible.

"It’s one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors," Fiona Godlee, BMJ’s editor-in-chief, told CNN. "But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data."

Britain stripped Wakefield of his medical license in May. “Meanwhile, the damage to public health continues, fueled by unbalanced media reporting and an ineffective response from government, researchers, journals and the medical profession,” BMJ states in an editorial accompanying the work.

Again, vaccines don’t cause autism. They don’t. Period. Don’t listen to Jenny McCarthy, listen to science.

Filed under Autism Vaccines vaccinate vaccinate for real protect your children herd immunity?