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  • Number Gut, Continued

    Posted by Dan from Madison on January 6th, 2011 (All posts by )

    Many authors have written on these pages about what damage has been done to us humans by people choosing not to vaccinate their children.

    I remember just a few years ago when faced with this choice. To me it was a no brainer, but my wife was exposed to other wives/moms her age that had chosen not to vaccinate their kids. I finally convinced my wife to vaccinate the kids by using common sense with her. I said that if there was such a huge connection between autism and the vaccines, wouldn’t we see a huge explosion of autism cases? After looking at simple figures available online, this was simply not the case.

    Today on Fox News, it seems that many who wrote here are vindicated – they doctored the data. These guys, imho, should be shot for endangering the lives of millions of people.

     

    9 Responses to “Number Gut, Continued”

    1. tehag Says:

      For some reason, the Fox story at your link is abbreviated. CNN is reporting he was paid by the lawyers to fake the study.

      “According to BMJ, Wakefield received more than 435,000 pounds ($674,000) from the lawyers.”

    2. Dan from Madison Says:

      I guess we always need to follow the money if the data look goofy.

    3. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Most doctors have known for years that this was a fake article. It and the also fake Iraq casualty article have just about killed Lancet’s credibility. It’s a shame because it was once the equal of New England Journal world-wide. There is actually quite a bit of cheating in medical articles, which is why I am not surprised at the global warming scam. Many of the examples of cheating have not been retracted but are known to insiders. Unfortunately, some of those examples have faded from general knowledge and the practice that was discredited has come back in popularity.

      One example is in colon surgery. When I was a resident in surgery in the 1960s, George Crile Jr, son of the Cleveland Clinic founder, published a paper on what was called the “no touch technique” in colon cancer surgery. The theory was that the surgeon could prevent liver metastases by leaving the actual tumor bearing segment of colon untouched until he had divided the veins from the colon. It made some sense and quickly became standard technique.

      Some years later, I was attending the GI cancer course at the College of Surgeons when the fraud came to be exposed. Another surgeon presented a paper in which they were testing the effect of injecting chemotherapy drugs into the colon before resecting it. The idea was that the chemotherapy drug would tend to be picked up by the same veins that drain cancer cells to the liver. Thus the drug would kill cancer cells already escaped to the liver. This involved the exact opposite of Crile’s technique. The veins would be divided last. The control group for the latter paper had no drug injected in the colon and the veins divided last. They should do as poorly as the Crile control group (also dividing veins last) and the Crile treated group should have much better survival. In fact, the test group did as well as the Crile test group AND the control group of the chemo study did as well as the Crile treated group. Why should this be ?

      The authors were there and informed the meeting (about 1,000 surgeons) that they had gotten access to Crile’s data and they learned that he had doctored (no pun intended) the data. All such studies use time-life tables to correct for patients who die of other causes during the five or ten year study period. If you study 1000 patients and 700 are alive in 5 years, you have to correct the data to see if your treatment did any good. In this case, Crile corrected the data on one group but not the other. The result was to make the control group look much worse.

      Sitting in the audience, in the front row, was one of the Cleveland Clinic’s, and the country’s, most prominent colon surgeons. The author of the paper asked him to comment and he declined, telling the meeting, ” You will have to take that up with Dr Crile.” The paper was never retracted and, if you check PubMed, you will still see articles about the “no touch technique.”

      Crile’s son became a writer and newspaper correspondent which was probably just as well.

    4. Jim Miller Says:

      The problem doesn’t occur just in medicine. Years and years ago, I recall reading — and I hope you will forgive me for not remembering exactly where — about a little experiment a psych professor had done. (This was described in an appendix to, as I recall, a book on methodology.

      The professor had his grad students write to authors of published psych papers and ask for copies of their data. In the majority — I repeat, in the majority — of cases, the students did not get the data. Instead, they got excuses on the order of the dog ate my homework.

      (And when they did get copies of the data? As I recall, it often did not support the conclusions in the papers.)

    5. Dan from Madison Says:

      I am simply blown away by the things people will do for money. The type of cheating in things like fake correlating autism to immunizations and the colon surgery described above aren’t little things like giving yourself a better lie when playing your favorite 18 or deceiving your spouse so you don’t spoil a surprise party. These are life and death matters and I am amazed that people will let themselves, their craft, and society down like this.

    6. Rachel Says:

      Unfortunately, this hasn’t changed the minds of some true believers for whom Dr. Wakefield continues to be a martyr and the subject of biased and unfair attacks.

    7. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Actually Dan, Barney Crile didn’t hurt many people with his fraud in this case as it seems to have been useless but harmless. In another instance, which is not as well documented, he probably did do some harm.

      He became famous in all the women’s magazine for advocating simple mastectomy and lumpectomy for breast cancer. He published papers showing that the results of the lesser procedures were as good or better than radical mastectomy. Much of this occurred 50 years ago. I had friends at the Cleveland Clinic tell me that the internists and gynecologists at the clinic did not really believe him but they would refer cases in which suspicious lesions on mammography were small. Obvious cancers and advanced cases, they referred to the other surgeons. Thus, he was comparing selected cases to, not the average of other surgeons but a selected worse set of cases. Everyone knew it but Barney and he may have suspected. His ambition to equal his father’s accomplishments was the driving force.

      George Crile Sr was one of the great physicians and surgeons of all time. He was responsible for introducing blood transfusion for shock in World War I.

      I should add that simple mastectomy and lumpectomy are now considered safe with postop radiation.

    8. Dan from Madison Says:

      Michael Kennedy – “The authors were there and informed the meeting (about 1,000 surgeons) that they had gotten access to Crile’s data and they learned that he had doctored (no pun intended) the data.”

      This is what I am talking about.

    9. Micha Elyi Says:

      These guys, imho, should be shot for endangering the lives of millions of people.

      Media droids who kept freshening up the vaccines-cause-autism rumor over and over, thereby frightening millions of TV-watching females should also face some punishment for their crimes against common sense.