Refuted Studies

Another Anti-Vax Link Dump

I found this one over at CureGear where they had an awesome shirt “Vaccines Cause Adults” that upset some anti-vaxxers. I haven’t bought mine yet, but I definitely may soon.

So as usual, the goal of the anti-vax link dump is to overwhelm you with sources that look official (but usually aren’t) to try and pretend they research. These are often copied and pasted, and there is a good chance that the poster didn’t even read them.

So to save you some time and effort, I’ll go through each one. The first thing you should notice is how freaking old most of these are. ABout half of these are more than 40 years old. Now has no new research been done in 40 years (of course there’s been new research!) or does this anti-vax idiot person just know that older vaccine studies were the preliminaries that led to more research; many of them had smaller sample sizes and worse methods. When they were re-evaluated with better methods, the truth came out: vaccines are safe and effective. But that is no fun if you’re anti-vax!

Another issue with using these ancient studies is that the vaccine schedule is mostly different now than it was in 1926, so research then is largely inapplicable to the vaccines today.

A final concern here is that anti-vaxxers have been telling us about this huge upswing in issues related to vaccinations. If vaccines have been a huge problem since 1926, why are we seeing “more” of the problem now? Doesn’t it kind of violate the anti-vax tenant?

  1. 2017 Yale study. Temporal Association of Certain Neuropsychiatric Disorders Following Vaccination of Children and Adolescents: A Pilot Case-Control Study.

So this is published in a predatory, pay to play journal. That means it was not peer-reviewed and is not actually science. It offers no idea as to how diseases that commonly occur in young teens may be connected to their vaccines but rather seeks to pretend all of these neurological disorders (OCD, anorexia nervosa) are the same, despite decades of research confirming that they are affected by different neurotransmitter systems in different brain regions. It looks for a correlation between a very common diagnosis and vaccines within the last year. How does it do this? Via administrative data matching only age, gender, and zip code. That isn’t great. When you are doing large correlation studies like this, you really need a lot of well-matched controls.

But what is worse is that the statistics here were atrocious. I won’t go into the details of it. If you’d like them, check out this site that explains p-hacking, a bit of statistical magic by which you can force data that is not significant to look significant. This is why the study found associations between vaccines and broken bones and open wounds.

To summarize, this paper was not reviewed and did improper statistics to try and get a result that they then paid to publish. If you want more information, check out this blog here, which goes through the paper in more detail. These same conditions (and many others) were tested for associations with vaccines in 2007, with no causal relationship found and again in 2010.

  1. Deep sequencing reveals persistence of cell-associated mumps vaccine virus in chronic encephalitis.

This is a case study of a single child with an additional undiagnosed immune disorder, which had it been known, would have been a contraindication for the vaccine in the first place. The MMR vaccine has been around since 1963; millions of children have received the vaccine, and there has only been one case of encephalitis from the mumps vaccine in all of that time. A quote from the artilce (proving the copier and paster never read it) says:

It is important to note that MMR continues to be a highly effective and safe vaccine in the vast majority of individuals.

The authors directly state that this article is not a reason to not vaccinate your children.

  1. Murine hypothalamic destruction with vascular cell apoptosis subsequent to combined administration of human papillomavirus vaccine and pertussis toxin.

This is a study done in mice, meaning that it is translational research. Its findings cannot be directly used to change clinical practice, only to begin a clinical trial. While animal research is extremely useful, it is limited. With that being said, what was the goal of this study? The authors say:

In this study, to better understand the molecular mechanisms of HANS, we first attempt to establish an animal model of the syndrome. We then analyzed the pathological lesions of the murine HANS model by focusing on the CNS.

Now, why is that a problem? Because HANS stands for HPV vaccination associated neuro-immunopathetic syndrome. That means that these authors are studying a syndrome not proven to exist, and more accurately, proven not to exist by several papers here and here. This is like writing a paper saying that you’re going to look into how alien attacks on New York affected everyone’s mental health; you have to prove the condition you’re investigating exists before you try to study it.

Despite looking at a (non-existent) condition related to the HPV vaccine, the authors used Pertussis toxin (whooping cough) in addition to a vaccination. Oddly, they found that pertussis was not dangerous to the mouse brain, directly contrary to many other studies actually done on the toxin. Since their control does not follow accepted scientific norms, how are we to accept their research?

But what was their smoking gun? 2 of 14 mice (abysmally small numbers) given the Gardasil vaccine showed motor dysfunction. The vaccine doses were given at 4 weeks apart (instead of 6 months in humans) and the dose was approximately 600 times higher than what humans receive by body weight.

Despite all of that, they only found an effect in 2 out of 14 mice. If there was any danger from the HPV vaccine, don’t you think it would have shown up profoundly when 3 doses 600x stronger than clinically relevant were given in 1/4 of the time? 2 mice out of 14 is a statistical anomoly, not a profound toxic reaction.

  1. Aluminum in Childhood Vaccines Is Unsafe.

This paper was a predatory journal, the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. This journal is famous for extreme political views and HIV/AIDS denial. You read that right, this group doesn’t believe that HIV causes AIDS. They also are against Medicare. They believe that shaken baby syndrome (in which an adult violently shakes a baby, killing him or her, leaving evidence of brain bleeding and severed spinal cords) is actually a vaccine injury. Oh, and they believe that Barack Obama used mind control to win the election. This group is just peachy.

The author, Neil Miller, is a famous anti-vaxxer who has had papers retracted his whole career for shoddy statistics and whispers of fraud. He claims he is going to use VAERS to prove that vaccines are dangerous. But we’ve heard this racket before. VAERS is a passive reporting system that accepts reports of people turning into Jesus Christ after vaccination, becoming the incredible hulk after vaccination, turning into wonder woman after vaccines,  of 12-month-old babies reacting to 18-month vaccines, and even from reports not from this country.

VAERS is useful for government agencies with the ability to follow up after reports, but even after follow up, reports are not removed from the system. So even if someone follows up and confirms that no one turned into the Hulk after MMR, that report is there, unless the person chooses to remove it themselves.

Basically, data mining VAERS brings together all of the worst aspects of a self-report study.  You gather a bunch of people who think they’ve been vaccine injured and take them at their word. You don’t confirm the diagnosis with a doctor. You don’t ever see the patient. You just believe them. That is not science.

This paper spends most of its time begging media to report on it and trying to convince you that VAERS is a valuable tool for self-published papers. Anyone who actually reads it will notice that it reads more like an angry 6th grader than a scientific report.

  1. A dose-response relationship between organic mercury exposure from thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders.

This paper is published in a predatory journal by Miller’s (from above) coauthor. It is another bought of VAERS dumpster diving and not real science. Everything written for paper #4 could be copied and pasted here.

  1. Partial third nerve palsy after Measles Mumps Rubella vaccination.

This letter (I’ll get to that in a moment) is published in a very small, open access (meaning you pay to submit) journal. At the time of this writing, there is still discussion over whether or not this journal is predatory. This is not a scientific article, but rather, a letter to the editor written by an employee of the Institute of Ophthalmology, meaning he has no business talking about vaccines at all.

I will not attempt to “debunk” this man’s letter, any more than I will attempt to prove the scientific accuracy of love notes. There is no point. We deal in science, not letters.

  1. Seizure Risk with Vaccination.

To clarify, this is not the original paper, but rather a commentary on the original paper. The original paper is avaliable at the link as wll.

But the anti-vaxxers claim they want to look at this one, so what does it say?

Current childhood vaccines are, by all measurable standards, safe and effective. Relatively mild transient effects, however, can occur, and concern still exists about the possibility of more severe and longer lasting neurological disorders.

They note that on the day of vaccination, the risk of seizure increases “six fold”. The risk of a seizure is still incredibly low, despite this small found increase. What else do they say?

There will always remain some doubt about the “absolute” safety of childhood vaccines, specifically DTP (acellular or whole cell) and MMR. What Barlow et al.’s article and others help show is that any serious side-effects occur at an immeasurably small frequency, certainly smaller than the measurable effects of the illnesses they prevent.

By the numbers, vaccines prevent more seizures than they “cause”. I don’t think our anti-vaxer read this very closely.

  1. Mental Nerve Neuropathy as a Result of Hepatitis B Vaccination.

This is another case study published in 1997 identifying a single case (in 11 years of vaccine administration) in which a patient presented with numbness of the chin 3 weeks after receiving a hepatitis b vaccine. She was completely cured by 2 weeks of steroids (as opposed to the very real risk of dying from hepatitis b). The vaccine was attributed as the cause because there was no known cause. In the 20 years since this paper was published, not a single new case has occurred.

That means that 1 person out of millions diagnosed, got a diseasase 3 weeks after vaccination. Not a great case for not vaccinating.

  1. Bias in evaluating CNS complications following pertussis immunization.

This is a review published in a predatory journal by a scientist who doesn’t think anyone who receives vaccines themselves or for their children (you know the scientific standard) should be allowed to research vaccines. He believes only anti-vax quacks persons should be allowed to do vaccine research.

This is not scientific evidence against vaccine safety.

  1. Multifocal Demyelinating Neuropathy after Tetanus Vaccine

This is a case study that reports on a man over 20 years ago. Its goal is not to link vaccination to demyelination, but rather to link multifocal demyelinating neuropathy (MFDN) and chronic acquired demyelinating neuropathies (CADN). In the 20 years since this report was made, these two conditions have been found to have very similar pathology (as proposed here) but not be related to vaccines.

  1. The Role of Viruses in the Induction of Allergic Encephalomyelitis

While no link was provided for this article, I did find it and include a link in my list. Unfortunately, it appears to have been retracted after being published over 20 years ago. I can’t even find an abstract. The topic doesn’t sound like it would have anything to do with vaccinations though.

  1. Neurologic events following diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis immunization.

Unfortunately, I can’t get access to this journal, even using my university credentials. So if you have access, please send it to me. But the abstract states quite clearly that there was no risk of encephalopathies and seizure disorders were within the expected 1.13 risk ratio. So it seems like the anti-vaxxer didn’t even read the abstract.

  1. Relationship of pertussis immunization to the onset of neurologic disorders: a retrospective epidemiologic study.

There was a small association between an old form of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids with pertussis vaccine given before 1970 and febrile seizures. This has since been corrected for. Unless you are planning to go have babies vaccinated in 1960, this study doesn’t mean anything to you (which is why it is a good idea to use studies done in this century to talk about modern medicine).

  1. Case-control study on encephalopathy associated with diphtheria-tetanus immunization in Campania, Italy.

This study found 25 cases of encephalopathy out of 5.4 million doses. This was published over 30 years ago though, so quite a few more doses have been given out. Again, lets try and stick with research papers written in this century as they will be most accurate to the vaccinations used now. 25/5,400,000 doesn’t seem like a major risk to me, considering how deadly diphtheria and tetanus both are.

  1. Effects of long-term immunization with multiple antigens. Supported by U.S. Army Research and Development Command.

This is a 44-page report from the army, partially redacted, published in 1980 and difficult to read. Due to having been poorly scanned. At the end what did they recommend? Keep doing research. And we have. Since this paper was published over 120,000 papers have been published on vaccination.

This paper did not show any harmful effects of vaccination.

  1. Neurological Complications Following Measles Virus Vaccination. Evaluation of the Cases seen Between 1971-1977.

This study is difficult to track down, but I found the original abstract at this link here, which gives some insight into the authors conclusion as compared to the abbreviated abstract that gives no data.

An incidence of 1 neurological complication per 2,500 vaccinees and an incidence of 1 abortive encephalopathy per 17,650 vaccinees… The prognosis seems to be good; the risk of vaccination compared to the risk following original measles is between 1:10 (convulsions) and 1:18 (encephalopathy)

That means that this paper found a small risk that was orders of magnitude less than the risk of not vaccinating. This paper supports vaccination; I’m guessing the anti-vax poster didn’t bother to track down the paper.

  1. On Convulsive Reactions Following Oral vaccination Against Polio

This article was written in German in 1979 regarding the oral polio vaccine given prior to 2000. As I do not know German, and no one has considered this a significant enough publication to translate, I cannot comment on whether or not the link is valid. I can say, however, that it is silly to try and use an abandoned vaccine to convince people not to vaccinate their children. But if anti-vaxxers worried about being silly, they wouldn’t be anti-vaxxers. This is another reason why it is a good idea to try and keep your research papers limited to this century.

  1. Encephalitis Developing After Vaccination without a Local Skin Reaction

This 40-year-old article is written in Russian and no one has considered it important to translate it. It doesn’t even name a vaccine in the title, meaning it is impossible to consider. Why would a poster from the USA post all of the inaccessible journal articles? Maybe so that he or she can have more on this extremely long, yet entirely unconvincing list?

  1. Acute Meningoencephalitis Immediately after an Influenza Vaccination

Another inaccessible article. It is almost as if the anti-vaxxer knew these articles couldn’t be rebutted due to their age and foreign language. But from the title, this is pretty clearly a case study, not a scientific report.

  1. Neurological Complications in Children From Smallpox Vaccination

Still inaccessible. This anti-vaxxer was really reaching. In all of the link dumps I’ve seen them copy and paste, I’ve never seen one with so many fake foreign articles.

  1. Neurological Complications Following Measles Vaccination

This is the same article as in #18. I’m dying. How did they possibly not notice?

  1. Neurological Complications of Pertussis Inoculation.

A link wasn’t provided for this one, but I added one back in. This paper found 24 cases of neurological issues in 11 years of patients who received vaccines. The authors don’t bother to mention how many children got vaccines, or which years specifically they were looking at (science was done a little lazier 40 years ago when this paper was published), but even so hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of children, were vaccinated between 1962-1974… 24 cases of possible issues, in a study that hasn’t been replicated in 40 years, is not strong evidence against vaccines.

  1. Proceedings: Neurological complications of DPT inoculation in infancy.

A link was not provided, but I found one. This is not a paper, but rather a summary of a talk given at a meeting in 1973. That means it was not peer-reviewed. You cannot cite a meeting presentation as data; it must be peer-reviewed and published. But what did they find? That of the children who had a reaction to the DPT vaccine (24 of them out of millions, ironically the same number as the previous paper- same data set?) most of them had a contraindication and should not have been vaccinated.

This doesn’t show vaccines are unsafe, it reiterates the need for doctors and parents to read the VIS very carefully and make sure children are eligible for vaccines.

  1. Neurologic Disorders Following Live Measles-virus Vaccination.

This paper looked at the onset of any cases of neurological disorder after a measles vaccine (one that is no longer given, I might add, thus rendering it useless on the topic of vaccinating today). They found,

 From 1963 through 1971, 50.9 million doses of measles vaccine were distributed, and, therefore, incidence of the reported neurologic disorders was 1.16 per million doses. Risk of encephalitis following measles infection is one per thousand cases.

The new measles virus has serious complications in .7 per million doses, making it even safer than this old vaccine. Effectively, this paper shows that not vaccinating is about 1,000 times more dangerous than vaccinating! Not exactly a strong proof for why we shouldn’t vaccinate. (Side note, I love that JAMA updated actual copies of these ancient papers to the internet instead of the scanned in pdfs other journals have done. But I recognize, that trying to update old, outdated papers isn’t a priority.)

  1. Lorentz, IT, et al, “Post-Vaccinal Sensory Polyneuropathy with Myoclonus”, Proc Aust Ass Neurol, 1969, 6:81-86.

I checked 3 different publication databases, requested this paper from my University library share, looked up the original journal and googled the heck out of it. Even scoured the journal’s website. The only place it exists is in the lists of conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones. I can’t find it anywhere. However, from the same journal, I did find this review, widely decrying the attempts of hysterical media to link neurological disorders and vaccination. Maybe ant-vax loons made up this paper. Maybe it was simply never uploaded, given that it is 50 years old and newer studies have never replicated any adverse effect.

  1. Neurological Complications After Smallpox Vaccination.

I have placed a request with my university for the full text of this article. Currently, all I can find is the abstract, which details how 14 persons who were vaccinated during the 1963 outbreak had neurological complications. During this outbreak 25 people became ill and 4 died. 300,000 people were vaccinated. So even if all 14 cases of neurological disorders were directly caused by vaccination (which I cannot assess without the full paper) there was an injury rate of .004%, with 13 of the 14 cases being resolved. Meanwhile, the outbreak had a 16% death rate, let alone other complications. Historians credit the vaccination of so many people so rapidly, as well as excellence in quarintining, to be responsible for limiting the outbreak of this deadly and highly contagious disease.

  1. Bondarev, VN et al, “The Changes of the Nervous System in Children After Vaccination”, Pediatria, Jun 1969; 48:20-24.

This is another unfindable study. Studies from 50 years ago on vaccines that aren’t given anymore are not a reason to avoid vaccinations, and if you want to pretend to be as scientist posting studies to support your opinon, you damn well better be sure they actually exist.

  1. Reported Neurological Disorders Following Live Measles Vaccine.

This paper clearly states that out of 23 cases of neurological disorders temporally associated with the measles vaccine (again, one no longer given making this completely irrelevant), 4 were definitely not caused by the vaccine. Three weren’t actual neurological disorders, and one was an STD. As for the others, there was no evidence that the vaccine caused any disorder at all; the rate of neurological disorders was not high in the vaccinated group. This study confirms that vaccines are safe.

  1. Nervous system complications in children after preventive vaccinations

Another Russian article that doesn’t exist anywhere on the internet, even the original journal’s website. Is it because it is 50 years old and irrelevant? Or was it retracted? Who knows. What we do know is that this anti-vaxxer is very bad at making lists.

  1. Further Experience of Reactions, Especially of a Cerebral Nature in Conjunction with Triple Vaccination

This study is based on vaccinations administered 60 years ago, and thus is totally irrelevant to any vaccinations given today. It is almost like the anti-vaxxer who compiled this list knows nothing about science and how vaccinations work… but then again if she did know anything (about anything at all) she wouldn’t be an anti-vaxxer would she?

In the 7 years this study looked at, it found 167 cases in which children had “reactions” to vaccines. 24 of those reactions were children crying, another 2 were children being “irritable”. 80 were children having seizures within 1 month of vaccination. Given 516,276 children were vaccinated, that number is actually quite small and makes me think that many seizures were not recognized, but then again we weren’t as good at recognizing seizures 60 years ago.

Overall, the paper estimates the risk of reaction (of any nature, including children crying) at 1:3,600. The authors noted that only the 3 cases of encephalitis (out of 516,276) were serious events, with all other events resolving themselves without permanent concerns. That gives a risk of about .0005%.

At the end of the study, the authors recommend nationwide, mandated vaccinations. I’m guessing our anti-vaxxer didn’t read this study.

  1. Cerebellar Ataxia Presumed Due To Live Attenuated Measles Virus Vaccine

This is a case study of a single child. The authors noted that no other child had ever presented with this in the past. I note that since 1967, no child has ever presented with this again. One child out of the millions vaccinated is not a reason to not vaccinate. Especially given that the vaccine given to this child 50 years ago is not the one used today.

  1. Neurological Complications of Small Pox” British Medical Journal.

THIS PAPER IS REVIEWING REACTIONS FROM 1853-1896. 165 YEARS AGO! If you can’t ind a study done even in the previous century to illustrate your point, then your point is wrong.

Despite that, what do the authors conclude:

That vaccination still plays an important part in the control of smallpox is unquestioned, but its use should be related to prevailing conditions, which are, moreover, liable to change.

Basically, 50 years ago, they emphasized that vaccination was still important, but pointed out that as smallpox was eradicated (through vaccination) it probably wouldn’t be in the future.

  1. Vaccinal Lesions of the Nervous System in Children.

Another inaccessible foreign paper.

  1. Neurological Complications of Pertussis Immunization

Link #22 was the update to this paper (done in 1974 while this one was done in 1958).  Both found scant cases of neurological disorders, and recommend vaccination.

The value of Pertussis immunizations is emphasized.

  1. Pathogenesis of Encephalitis Occurring With Vaccination, Variola and Measles.

Seriously though, this paper is EIGHTY YEARS OLD. A 90,000 studies have been done on vaccinations in this century, but you cite an 80 year old paper??

This article is making the case that most serious reactions to vaccines are likely an allergic reaction, and could be avoided if we knew the allergic component. It is not an argument against vaccination, it is a review on how to administer vaccines more safely. If you’ll notice, back in this century, measures have been taken to ensure that children don’t come into contact with allergens during vaccination.

  1. Encephalomyelitis Following Vaccination Against Pertussis.

This article is from 1926. Almost 100 years old. *eye roll* The anti-vaxxer only included half the title, but I corrected it here.

What did this paper conclude?

 The incidence of such reactions is, in general, extremely low, so low that any one individual even if actively engaged in this type of work is likely to see only a few such cases in a life time.

So a pediatrician who spends half their time giving out vaccines to thousands of children over a lifetime is unlikely to ever see a vaccine reaction. Glad to hear it. Seems vaccines are pretty safe.

  1. Update: Vaccine Side Effects, Adverse Reactions, Contraindications, and Precautions Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

This is the complete document from the CDC which lists the relative risks of vaccinations in comparison to not vaccinating (don’t anti-vaxxers always complain that this information is hidden or not available?) It is exactly these studies that conclude vaccines are a safe and effective way to prevent diseases. This document supports vaccination.


So of 37 links, how did our anti-vaxxer do?

14 papers openly supported vaccination

9 papers were unavailable

7 papers were retracted

2 papers were each listed twice

Only 7 papers were done in this century

Not a single paper made a strong case against a vaccine, even vaccines no longer given. 

Better luck next time anti-vaxxers.

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