Profanity Alert: find a fire and die in it PETA

As the heading warns, there’s going to be swearing in this post.
Some time ago, I posted about PETA lying about milk causing autism, and how they were slapped down several years ago by the autism community. PETA is now pretending that this never happened, and has a new advertising campaign out repeating the lie that milk consumption is related to autism. Science Based Medicine has the details.
Fuck you PETA. Fuck you up the arse with a family of angry porcupines. We have enough bullshit in our lives without you hijacking us as a vehicle for your ideology. I’ve been fighting shithead antivaxxers for four years now. I don’t need to fight a second group of brain dead fuckwits.
The research you used for your campaign is out of date and has been questioned. Many years ago, it was believed that gluten and casein could worsen autism symptoms. That was not the case. If an autistic child is gluten or casein intolerant, then excluding those items will help. Otherwise, a gluten free casein free diet is both useless and expensive.
If you have any decency, PETA, you will not only drop your campaign, you will express your sincerest regrets for attempting to hijack autism advocacy and undertake never to do it again.

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Some follow up, and a “study” leaves me fuming

Just a heads up, there’s going to be raging in this post.
In my last post, I wrote about doctors who treated a woman with cancer by giving her a massive dose of measles vaccine. Well, Abbie has more details. It turns out that the measles had adapted to the point where it could only replicate in cancerous cells, not healthy ones. But go and read her post.
And now for the story that provoked my rage. According to a new study it seems that there is a high correlation between being autistic and being a mass murderer.

Among the 239 eligible killers, 28 per cent had ‘definite, highly probable or possible ASD’ of which 7 per cent also had a head injury.

Here’s a good quote, though.

The researchers stressed the study is “clearly limited” by the “anecdotal and speculative” nature of some of the published accounts. “We’re not saying people with autism will be serial killers,” [lead researcher Clare] Allely said, adding “it’s way too early to make any statement like that.”

Oh, you’re not saying that? You took a bunch of mass murderers, looked for “signs of autism” in them, then used that to build a case, and you’re not saying that? Paula Durbin Westby wrote this comment below.

If you go back to my post, you can see the new Venn diagram and the chart of “six killers with definite ASD diagnosis,” with information about each one, including that only ONE person has a *definite* ASD diagnosis. The 67 people on the Venn diagram are actually 6, because the other 61 do not have “definite” diagnoses and are therefore in the realm of speculation. But the whole thing is speculative in nature

One of the other comments nailed it.

They take a sample of mass killers, then retrospectively look for details supportive of autism in popular press reports, then pretend they found a valid statistical correlation based on clinical analysis. If there is any methodology rife for bias, this would be it.

Yes. And this dishonest study is likely to make our already difficult lives worse. Thanks, “researchers”.

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A bunch of news stories on topics I blog about

In the past week, I’ve read a number of news stories relating to autistics, autism and vaccination.
The first one was in The Star, in an article about psychopathy. Paraphrased:
There are two types of empathy. Cognitive empathy is the ability to know what other people are feeling, and emotional empathy is the kind where you feel what they are feeling.
Autistic people can be very empathetic – they feel other people’s pain – but are less able to read the cues we read easily. Psychopaths are the opposite: they know what you’re feeling, but don’t feel it themselves.
Frequently I’ve shut down because after reading or hearing about an injustice I’ve imagined myself as the wronged party.
The next story I read was about using genetically modified measles to cure cancer. Two women were injected with a massive dose of measles vaccine. The dose was 10,000 times stronger than a normal dose. Both had weakened immune systems so the measles wouldn’t be attacked before it had done its job. Every other treatment option had been exhausted. One woman experienced complete remission. The other also experienced remission but her cancer returned. This is interesting because it’s strong supporting evidence for Paul Offitt’s remark that a child’s immune system can absorb the antigen load of 10,000 immunisations in a day.
The third story was “Early repetitive behaviour may signal autism risk“. Cliff notes version is that repetitive behaviour in children is normal until 6 months but decreases thereafter, while in autistics, repetitive behaviour is still prevalent or even increasing at 12 months. More research is needed, but if autism can be detected at 12 months, that’s another nail in the coffin of the vaccine causation hypothesis.
The fourth story was “Reason found for autistics’ overreaction to stimuli“. The short version is that certain areas in autistics’ brains overreact to sensory stimuli. It’s known as sensory over-responsivity, and is now recognised as a core feature of autism. To test this, they put 32 children, half autistics, half neurotypical, into an fMRI and scanned their brains while touching them with a wool sweater, playing loud traffic sounds, or both. The autistics’ brains reacted a lot more strongly.
This is very familiar to me. When I was 7 years old, my mother was preparing for a dinner party. I walked into the kitchen when she was taking meringues out of the oven. She offered one to me and I ate it.
It was so sweet that I gagged. To this day, I’m still wary of meringues. In addition, I hate being tickled or touched.
A meta-analysis has been conducted into whether vaccines cause autism. Its title says it all. “Vaccines are not associated with autism: An evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies.”
The final story involves the cat who saved her owners’ son from a dog. Video taken from security cameras by Roger Triantafilo has been posted to YouTube. Shortly before 5 o’ clock on Tuesday the 13th May, six year old Jeremy Triantafilo was riding his pushbike in his parents driveway next to a parked SUV. Next door, the neighbours opened their gate to leave and their 8 month old chow labrador cross Scrappy got out. Scrappy heard the noise of Jeremy’s pushbike and went to investigate. Glancing under the SUV, Scrappy saw Jeremy. Rounding the car, he sank his teeth into Jeremy’s leg and dragged him off the bike. Suddenly Tara, the Triantafilos’ cat, hurtled out and slammed into Scrappy. Startled, Scrappy bolted with Tara in hot pursuit. As soon as Scrappy left her territory, Tara turned back and checked on Jeremy, whose mother, alerted by his screams, saw his injuries then called 911. What makes it amazing is that Tara is only a fraction of Scrappy’s size, and could easily have been killed by him. Scrappy has been euthanased.
Why am I mentioning this story? Jeremy is autistic.

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Random thoughts on voting and SIDS

So I voted on May 7th in South Africa’s fifth democratic general election. The results have come back, and they weren’t entirely what I’d hoped for.
I’ve been in a fight on the internet with an antivaccinationists who stated the lie that vaccines are responsible for SIDS. The antivaccinationist’s response to my refutation was to scoff. So I googled. And an interesting individual turned up in my search results.
Peter Fleming is a professor at Bristol University, a researcher at the Royal Hospital for Children in Bristol, and perhaps the world’s foremost expert on SIDS. He was behind the “Back to sleep” campaign and other simple actions that cut SIDS deaths by over half. Several studies had looked at the SIDS-vaccine link, so Professor Fleming decided to perform a metaanalysis of those studies. “Reanalyses of case-control studies examining the temporal association between sudden infant death syndrome and vaccination”. The conclusion? “Our data suggest that immunisation does not contribute to the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and may protect against it.” I found a link on the Bristol University website, but when I clicked for more details, I got a 503 error.
Hopefully, this will put the vaccines cause SIDS lie to rest.

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Three steps forward, two steps back

On the vaccine front, it looks like a “three steps forward, two steps back” situation.
My health insurer will give me double points if I get a flu jab before the end of May.
From Britain, proof that the hpv vaccine cuts cancer has emerged.
And now for the bad news on the vaccine front: Alicia Silverstone has released a parenting book in which she declares that she won’t be vaccinating her son against chickenpox or measles.
To me that is utterly stupid. I had a mild bout of chickenpox and I had to stay at home for a whole week. No going out anywhere. The effects are still with me. I have a scar just below my shoulder from one of the spots. When I’m under stress, I get mouth ulcers. I’m also at risk for shingles, which can be so painful that some have been driven to suicide. As for measles, I escaped that (thank you MMR), but Silverstone is putting her son at risk of getting a disease that can cause deafness, blindness, death, and the dreadful condition subacute sclerosing panencephalitis which takes years to kill its victims. In fact, Vietnam is suffering a deadly measles outbreak.
Sooner or later, the inevitable will happen and the child of a celebrity antivaccinationist will die or be permanently disabled. Excellent though medicine currently is, it still has things it can’t do, and one of those is cure sspe.

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Rant alert: Autism is NOT “the most devastating medical emergency of our time”

Something’s been gnawing at me over the past few days. What am I going to do? I’m going to blog about it, of course. Once again, profanity alert.
There is a paediatrician in California named Robert Sears. He is antivaccination through and through. He wrote something about autism in the following post (munged. I’m not linking to his lies) h-t_://tacanowblog.com/2014/04/02/so-autism-has-risen-another-30-in-two-years-to-1-in-68-who-cares/ that angers me greatly.

We can’t abandon science. The scientific method is important. What we NEED is for EVERYONE in the medical science community to ban together to figure this out. We need to start calling it for what it is: the most devastating medical emergency of our century.

That’s right. He called autism “the most devastating medical emergency of our century.”
Fuck that shit. And fuck you up the arse with a broken telephone pole Sears. We are NOT damaged goods. We are human beings who need understanding, compassion and support, not to be labelled like that. Oh, and I can think of things that are far more devastating than autism.
I’ve already spoken about Sarah’s death and attending her funeral. But that’s not the only thing. When I was still in Primary School, I attended the funeral of a classmate’s brother. The brother had had cancer. I still remember him at school with almost no hair from the chemotherapy.
There is one last thing. I know a woman named Andrea Lynne Slater on Facebook. We were also at school together. She had a son named Hudson.
Hudson had a congenital heart defect and died aged just four months. Andrea has set up The Hudson Initiative, to make Pulse Oxymetry a compulsory test for all newborns. She also blogs.
I’m alive and healthy. So are most autistic children. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who thinks that autism is worse than diabetes, cancer or congenital heart defects is wrong. Deludedly wrong.

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April update

Time for a quick roundup.
The CDC released the new autism rates right before April. The rate appears to be 1:68. Predictably, antivaxx groups are in a tizzy and arguing that this is proof that vaccines cause autism, never mind that the vaccine schedule has been steady for quite a few years now.
April is Autism Awareness month. Boycott Autism Speaks has kicked into high gear and is now petitioning sponsors of Autism Speaks to rethink their funding.
Lastly, some good news. The restaurant chain Chili’s periodically donates 10% of a day’s take to a charitable cause. Chili’s decided to have the National Autism Association as its recipient for April 7.
Despite its name, the NAA, like Age of Autism, is an antivaccination organisation masquerading as an autism advocacy one. When Chili’s announced the news, there was an outcry, with people urging them to reconsider.
Taken by surprise, Chili’s first responded with this comment on its Facebook page:

At Chili’s Grill & Bar, we’re about making every guest feel special and pride ourselves in giving back to our communities. When choosing a charitable partner for our Give Back Events, both locally and nationally, we are committed to supporting organizations dedicated to helping children and their families. The intent of this fundraiser was not to express a view on this matter, but rather to support the families affected by autism. Our choice to partner with the National Autism Association was based on the percentage of donations that would go directly to providing financial assistance to families and supporting programs that aid the development and safety of children with autism.

That vacuous and platitudinous response fooled nobody. The pressure continued, and finally Chili’s acquiesced.

Chili’s is committed to giving back to the communities in which our guests live and work through local and national Give Back Events. While we remain committed to supporting the children and families affected by autism, we are canceling Monday’s Give Back Event based on the feedback we heard from our guests.
We believe autism awareness continues to be an important cause to our guests and team members, and we will find another way to support this worthy effort in the future with again our sole intention being to help families affected by autism. At Chili’s, we want to make every guest feel special and we thank all of our loyal guests for your thoughtful questions and comments.

It looks like Chili’s decided to do something nice for Autism Awareness month, and chose to donate to an organisation that on the face of it supported autistics without doing proper research into the NAA. When the backlash occurred, Chili’s was taken completely by surprise and tried to placate the critics. When the anger continued, somebody investigated and found out that the NAA wasn’t quite what it claimed to be.
The NAA was rather upset at losing out on the donation, and has denied that it is antivaccine, even claiming that its website was out of date when it was pointed out that said website stated the vaccine causation theory. It has since emerged that the NAA is sponsoring a conference named “Give Autism a chance”. Featured speakers include Andrew Wakefield, Arthur Krigsman, Polly Tommey and Kim Stagliano. Three well known antivaccinationists and the man who cooked data to build a case that the MMR causes autism. I hate to be a bromide, but if it perambulates like an anatidaeid and vocalises like an anatidaeid…
There is a lesson here for all corporates: thoroughly check out any charity to which you intend to give a donation. The potential for embarrassment is high.
One pleasing fact has emerged from the fiasco, however. A few years ago, a donation like this to the NAA would have been protested, but not strongly enough to stop it. Today, there is enough awareness of the harm that organisations like the NAA do that the outrage forced Chili’s to change its plans.
The tide appears to be turning against antivaxxers.

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