Maybe that “mental disorder” crack was a bit too much?

You have to be out of your mind to deal with the anti-vax crowd. So maybe that last post about an anti-vaxxer maybe having a mental disorder was a bit much? Maybe I’m the one with the disorder since I willingly go and read their rants. In fact, I read so many of their rants that it’s hard to choose which one to take on. Instead of “ugly” in the following clip, replace it with “nuttier”:

Seriously, it’s hard to decide.

If anti-vaccine activists are not telling us that autism is worse than death, then they’re telling us unsubstantiated bullshit like this:

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 5.53.06 PM

See, because the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) within the US DOH runs both the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, then HRSA must be taking organs from “vaccine injured” children and selling those organs to the highest bidder. That’s why we must have such a small number of people needing organ transplants… Oh, wait.

That picture there must be from a child about to have their organs harvested, right? I mean, since this posting from “” is chock-full of facts, then the picture must be factual, right? Not so. It’s not even close to being about organ transplants. I shouldn’t be too hard on They probably did a Google search (their version of “research”) and probably found this article about organ trafficking allegedly done by Mexican drug gangs. (It’s from the Daily Mail, so take that article with a grain of salt.)

I don’t know what’s better, the post itself, or the comments from the page’s followers who swear that this is the truth, and that the child in that picture, despite being shown that the picture is from elsewhere, is a vaccine-injured child who is having his organs harvested. Even the people sharing the post are something to look at:

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 5.54.48 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 5.55.01 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 5.55.24 PM


To people that are seemingly divorced from reality, no conspiracy theory is too outlandish not to believe it. Between this and the reasoning of the Supreme Court, I think we’re in trouble.

Being anti-vaccine might be some sort of mental disorder

According to Wikipedia, a mental disorder can be described as “a mental or behavioral pattern or anomaly that causes either suffering or an impaired ability to function in ordinary life (disability), and which is not developmentally or socially normative. Mental disorders are generally defined by a combination of how a person feels, acts, thinks or perceives.” I’m no psychiatrist, and I make no claims to know all about the human mind and how it works. Heck, there are times when I can’t even understand me. But look at that definition and then look at this:


This woman worries so much about vaccines that she spends “hours and hours” in “researching the issues with the vaccines and worrying” about nothing. Notice how she has not seen any of the bad things that she has convinced herself (or has been convinced of by anti-vaccine celebrities), but she still wants to believe in them. She still knows through her “research” (which probably does not include any kind of coursework at an accredited institution) that vaccines are horrible. But, when she looks under the bed and doesn’t see a monster, it is “overwhelming” to her.

Read it for yourself. Because vaccinated children around her are not “lost” or “stolen” by vaccines she is overwhelmed. She is in a state of panic that, through her own admission, is irrational. If this is not a mental disorder, I don’t know what it.

Sadly, this is par for the course for many people who want to believe in the lies that they’re told about vaccines, the government, aliens, whatever. If they are true believers and they are confronted with something that is tangible, that they can see for themselves but doesn’t fit their view of the world, they feel overwhelmed. It’s like the devout person who follows a messiah that turns out to be human. Their ego can’t take the blow, so they try to rationalize it.

This is not the case with a truly rational person. A truly rational person sees the facts and accepts them for all that they’re worth. Rational people don’t freak out because the Earth revolves around the Sun. They don’t call for someone’s head because the science shows itself in everyday things more than their irrational beliefs.

I feel really sad for this woman that she has to worry her mind with these things when she could be doing much more productive things. She could leave the vaccine skepticism to people who go to school and learn about immunology, biology, microbiology, and virology and earn degrees after having their “research” tested over and over again to make sure that they’re doing it right. Instead, she chooses to be worried and anxious about her friends’ children who are NOT sick from vaccines, who DO NOT fit the description of vaccinated children that we see day after day in anti-vaccine blogs and videos. I almost want to reach out, hug her, and tell her that healthy children are an okay thing in this world, not something to feel overwhelmed about.

The weird and confusing world of “CIAParker”

I used to know this guy in college who was a true social chameleon. He could adapt to any situation and interact with almost anyone. Of course, this required him to lie about himself from time to time, and he did it more often when interacting with women he wanted to impress. He was employed when the girl in front of him talked about money. He was unemployed when the girl showed hints of being all about fighting “the man”. He grew up in the inner city with tough girls and out in the country with small town girls. It was like watching performance art.

There is a woman who appears at almost every anti-vaccine blog, in the comments section, and displays a similar ability to adapt to the situation. The only problem with her approach is that we can see what she wrote previously, and we can confront her statements with her own statements. One week she had X disease cause by vaccines, natch. The next week, she had some other disease, also caused by vaccines. A few weeks ago, smallpox was never eradicated. Rather, it was changed to chickenpox and, thus, is still around. Last week, smallpox was eradicated, but the vaccine used caused more deaths than smallpox did.

You can see the kind of game she plays.

Not only that, but she tells anyone who’ll listen that vaccines have zapped her energy, that she can’t work anymore, but she writes on and on and on in comments sections. And, judging by the time stamps in those comments, she does this for hours at a time, even days. And when someone points out to her that she sure seems animated for a person who is so devoid of energy, she then blames vaccines for her anxiety and her willingness to risk her life to tell others about the dangers of vaccines.

Perhaps the icing on the chameleon cake is that this woman is a lawyer when she needs to, then she’s something in the medical field (e.g. a nurse), and then she pulls out some other degree when her own dubious comments about vaccines are challenged.

Let’s put all that aside and really dive into the strange and twisted world this woman lives in. Hers is a world where serious diseases like whooping cough and H. influenzae meningitis can be treated easily with Vitamin C. Hers is a world where her autistic child is worse off than the children who have complications from vaccine-preventable diseases. That’s right, autism is much worse to her than a child who loses limbs from meningitis or loses their hearing or dies.

She’s one of those parents who should walk away from their child before she does something stupid, rather than just writing tons of stupid.

I mean, check this out:












cia9 cia10 cia11 cia12


CIA Parker hit all the anti-vaccine talking points, didn’t she? She does it a lot. Vaccines cause death, destruction, mayhem, peanut allergies, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and, of course, autism in her world. It’s a scary, dark world of hers.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather live in a world lit up by truth and reality, where the light of science scares away people like her into hiding and only spouting out that garbage.

The real threats to public health

I’ve told you before what German measles (Rubella) can do to an unborn baby. Lucky for us, the virus is covered in the MMR vaccine, a very good vaccine with a very good record of safety and effectiveness. We’re also lucky that the virus only has us as its reservoir. Immunize enough of us around the world, and the virus is eradicated. Period.

Unfortunately, there are people out there who more than likely have a mental disorder. Why a mental disorder? Because only psychopaths would knowingly endanger others and knowingly spread rubella (or mumps, or measles). Let me make this clear: Pregnant women have a diminished immune system, and they are very susceptible to these infections. If you spread rubella, or any other thing, you risk killing a child in the most painful way possible. These psychopaths go on social networks and network with each other, agreeing to report to each other if someone in their unvaccinated families contracts measles, mumps, rubella, or chickenpox. They then coordinate parties to get their children, and each other, exposed to these diseases. In some cases, they even agree to mail each other lollipops that sick children have licked.

It is disgusting, and it is extremely dangerous. Reasonable people see this. These psychopaths don’t. And, yes, I’m using that term to keep myself from calling them other names. Here’s the evidence, off of Facebook:

rubella_1 rubella_2

chickenpox_2 chickenpox_1



I am looking into each and every one of those names there, and I will not hesitate to contact the proper health protection authorities in the places where they live. The threat is just too great.

And, by the way, you psychopaths out there, if you’re reading this, the reason you’re having to resort to these idiotic tactics is because of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

Another mother who’s given up on her “lost” child

Here we go again with another parent of an autistic child referring to said child as “stolen.” This time, it’s a “Thinking Mom” who goes by the name of “Mama Mac”. I know who she is in real life, but we don’t need to go there. Mama Mac wrote a post titled “Who Will Pay the Piper?” in which she talks about how she “lost” her child to autism:

“When I look at pictures of Nick at 8 months old, happy, healthy, and then at 18 months old suddenly vacant, sickly, and sad . . . the word “stolen” flashes through my mind.

He was taken from me right under my nose. In fact I was advised to GIVE him much of what stole him away from me; vaccines, antibiotics, anesthesia. I was encouraged to participate in what would ultimately take my child from me.”

It’s always the goddamned vaccines, isn’t it? Ah, but she goes on about how dire the situation is, or isn’t:

“I’ve spent the past eight years bargaining with his kidnappers, trying desperately to bring him home. Yes, he’s sitting next to me while I type this, and, yes, these days he is present and ‘with us’ emotionally 95% of the time. But what of his future has been stolen? What of his future health? What about the devastating trauma we have endured? What if I can’t really get him back?

The Piper didn’t just take Nick. He’s taking a generation of children while their parents stand idly by.”

I don’t know about you, but I know plenty of parents of autistic children who didn’t “stand idly by.” They put on their big boy, and big girl, pants and got to work on the things that matter to their children: Better access to services, education, jobs, medical care. They went to their local schools and their elected leaders and are making the world a better place for all children who are not “normal”. (By the way, there is no normal.)

But I’m thinking that Mama Mac is talking about standing idly by as their children got vaccines and those things that “steal” or “kill” or make children “disappear”. And whom does Mama Mac blame for these horrors? “The Pied Piper”, of course:

“The Pied Piper is comprised of the biggest chemical and pharmaceutical companies who create, market and sell their poorly safety-tested products in the name of a healthier life.”

Of course, all those things that are not “natural” are never tested for safety. Chemical and pharmaceutical companies just pay off people and sell their stuff, and we all die or become autistic of something:

“We thought we’d traded crop weevils, childhood illnesses, dirt and inconvenience for corn crops bred with innate pesticides, the promise of childhoods free of chickenpox and measles, blinding white smiles and bleached kitchen counters. What we’ve actually ended up with is the sickest generation of children to come down the pike.”

Yeah, the sickest. That’s why childhood mortality is at an all time low. That’s why chronic diseases of adults are now the number one killers instead of, you know, childhood diseases. That’s why we’re making technological advances by leaps and bounds generation after generation, because we’re getting dumber or less mentally adept. Yeah, that’s why.

Of all the people who I think should walk away from their children, I think Mama Mac is right up there. Not only is her child “lost” to her, but the child has been taken by a monster under her bed.

The crazy takes it all the way up to 11

Last time, I told you about an anti-vaccine activist who seems to have some “issues” when it comes to his mental health. Why is it my opinion that he does? Because he has made it his life mission to try and get a law school professor fired over her pro-vaccine activism. In that last post, I showed you how he put her school’s contact information out on the web for anyone with an anti-vaccine bone in their body to go after her. Well, I learned today that he has taken the crazy level all the way up past ten and into 11.

Mr. Lloyd Phillips* has decided to put his old-school HTML know-how into use and created this web page**. It’s quite a bit of crazy, beginning with his “terms of use”. Those terms of use claim that any word copied from his possibly libelous website will cost you $10,000 per word. If you decide to use any of his words in a court of law, it will cost you $60,000 per word. He backs this all up by citing Internet Archive v. Suzanne Shell. This is where we find out that our litigious bag o’ nuts has no foot to stand on. The court in that case dismissed all claims of theft or copyright abuse or racketeering (yes, racketeering) because the claim that copying a site’s content to file away in an internet archive doesn’t mean that someone has stolen your property. Likewise, merely citing what you say or write and giving you proper attribution doesn’t mean your words or ideas are being stolen, so long as you are properly cited and given credit for them. Continue reading

Go read my friend’s blog

What are you doing reading this? Go read Ren’s declaration of a new “forever war,” and his subsequent post about depression. Mental Health is something that we in public health don’t think about often, but it influences a lot of what we do. If a person is not of sound mind, how can we expect them to make the right health decisions for themselves and their community?

I do hope Ren keeps at it on the mental health aspects of public health. I’ll do the lifting with quackery and the anti-vax crowd. (Well, not just me. There are others. We are many.)

How we view people with autism matters a lot

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know what some anti-vaccine people who are parents of children with autism have to say about their children. In their minds, they “lost” their children, or their children are an intolerable burden. They write and say these things in the context of vaccines, blaming vaccines for their children’s autism. They also write and say these things in an effort to blame someone for their situation, almost as if to say, “Look how bad I have it!” Many times, it’s all about them.

When they do write about their children, they usually write horror stories about temper tantrums at malls and stores, misbehavior at school, and things of that nature. The woman who wrote that her son was like the Connecticut shooter told us stories of almost being killed by her son. In short, willingly or not, some of these parents are placing their children in the worst light. And there are people who read that and go with it. There are people who look over at their own autistic child, or any autistic child, and wonder what will happen with them and their experience. Continue reading

Autism: It is not a disaster

Believe it or not, people who are mentally ill are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of violence. This doesn’t make much sense to people because we want to believe that someone who kidnaps, rapes, and murders a person has to be deranged. A “normal” mind can’t possibly do something so horrible, right?

Even worse, a lot of people are quick to point out that a criminal — especially a young criminal — was kind of “quirky” or maybe had “autism or something” instead of waiting for the facts to come through on a case. I believe that it’s our own attempt to justify what happened and to tell ourselves that we would never do something like that. Because, deep down, we’re afraid to be monsters ourselves.

Don’t deny it. It’s true.

Furthermore, autism and other neurological disorders are not mental health problems. You wouldn’t walk up to someone with cerebral palsy and say that they’re “crazy,” would you? Likewise, you wouldn’t say that Muhammad Ali, who has Parkinson’s, is more likely to commit violence than someone who is neurotypical. Would you? Nevertheless, for a very long time, children with cerebral palsy or autism have been treated as being “crazy” or “quirky,” and mass shooters as possibly being autistic (with the implication that said autism was the cause for their violence).

And so we come to yesterday’s news that “1 in 50 children have autism.” From Dr. Willingham’s post:

“According to the CDC, hidden within these numbers is the finding that most of the increase from 2007 to now occurred in school-aged children. In other words, given that it’s possible to diagnose autism as early as age 18 months and usually by age 5, many of these new autism diagnoses were in children who received them relatively later. Children who were, therefore, walking around for quite a few years with autism that went unrecognized … and uncounted. That fits with the idea that a lot of the increase in autism we’ve seen in the last decade has much to do with greater awareness and identification.”

The anti-vaccine blogs are already chomping at the bits at what this new prevalence number means, totally misunderstanding the meaning of the data. (I’m not surprised, are you?) Not only that, but they have their dire predictions:

“Any expressions of concern from anybody with the power to do something about this disaster? No . And the press, as usual is soft pedaling the findings. Fifteen years ago the autism rate was 1 in 10,000, 12 year ago it was I in 2,500, 10 years ago it was 1 in 1000, and so on. When President Obama was elected in 2008 the official rate was 1 in 150, then it went to 1 in 88 and now it is 1 in 50. Where is it going to stop?”

It will never stop. We will get to 100% saturation. Every child will be autistic.
I’m joking, of course. The prevalence rate will remain the same as it has always been. Our estimate of it will even itself out and approach the prevalence rate and remain there. This is because our ability to do surveillance for autism is improving. The identification of cases by healthcare providers is improving. People with autism are coming forward and demanding to be counted. Our elected leaders are devoting more resources to ways to assist people with autism to lead long and productive lives. These are all good things.
It is not a disaster.
What is a disaster is that people who call themselves “advocates” for children and adults with autism continue to say and do things that actually harm people with autism and other neurological disorders. They call it a “disaster” to have a child with autism, or they say that they “lost” their child to autism. They then write that their children are monsters or have monsters inside them. And we’re supposed to just stand back and be understanding because we don’t have children or children who are autistic? We’re supposed to agree that it’s a “disaster” when all rationality says that it’s not and that children with autism can and will grow up to be productive citizens who even appear on CSPAN as advocates of people with similar neurological disabilities?
No, we’re not. I won’t. And I hope you won’t either.

Prevalence, Prevalence, Prevalence, Prevalence!

If you have an anti-vaccine agenda, and you want to scare people off vaccines by telling them that vaccines cause autism, and you want to scare them about autism, then all you have to do is get the definition of prevalence wrong. Then, take a national emergency like Hurricane Sandy and write some half-assed blog post about how autism is some sort of a national emergency that needs to be addressed immediately but is being hidden from the public by special interests.

How something that is emergent like that can be hidden remains a mystery to me, but — as always — facts don’t ever get in the way of a good anti-vaccine, anti-government, big conspiracy nut’s blog post. Like this one here. If you can stomach it, go read it, then come back for today’s breakdown of the [redacted] spewed there.

Let us begin with two quick definitions. “Incidence” is the number of new cases of a disease or condition divided by the number of people at risk. For example, the incidence of cervical cancer would be the number of new cases divided by the number of women with cervices. Note that we don’t include men in that rate/proportion because men don’t have uteri nor cervices.

“Prevalence” is the number of existing cases of a disease or condition divided by the total population. For example, the prevalence of diabetes is the number of total diabetes cases in a community divided by all of the people in that community. These two numbers, incidence and prevalence, tell you very different things epidemiologically. Only incidence can tell you if you have an outbreak, or national emergency, on your hands.

For a condition such as autism, where the person who has autism rarely, if ever, dies from it and can lead long, productive lives, the prevalence rate will continue to climb and climb as more people are diagnosed and more of them are living long. Even if the incidence (new cases) drops precipitously, the fact that there are new cases will mean that prevalence will continue to rise. I’ve explained this to you before, haven’t I?

I have.

I really wish the author of that post had an epidemiologist who she could ask about these things before looking foolish. All she has is an even more hardcore anti-vaxxer who is trying to become an epidemiologist. But that’s a whole other story.

Anyway, back to the post in question. In it, the author states the following:

“Starting in the 1980s the autism rate began an ever-ascending climb. 

1995 1:500
2001 1:250
2004 1:166
2007 1:150
2009 1:110
2012 1:88″

She quickly acknowledges having been told the reason for this climb in prevalence, but she immediately refutes it:

“For years the medical community has been credited with “better diagnosing” of a disability that’s always been around. In other words, we’ve always had people like this in society– we just didn’t call it autism… The trouble is, no one has ever had to prove the claim of “no real increasing—better diagnosing.””

Allow me to highlight the troubling part of her statement:

“…no one has ever had to prove the claim of “no real increasing —  better diagnosing”

No one? Really? What about this, this, this (.pdf), and this? Those don’t count because of [insert conspiracy theory here]? Oh, well, I tried.

And then she gets all conspiracist about it:

“That hasn’t stopped authorities from claiming that they’re out there somewhere, undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. It would be especially interesting to see the 40, 60, and 80 year olds with classic autism, whose symptoms are evident to all. It would be of real significance to find middle aged and elderly people whose health history also included normal development until about age two when they suddenly and inexplicably lost learned skills and regressed into autism.”

In other words, because the author doesn’t see them, they must not exist.

Tell me something. Do you “see” people with schizophrenia everywhere? Well, you should. You should see them because 1.1% of the world’s population suffers from it. As it turns out, 1.1% is 1 in 88.

Let that settle in for a little bit. Maybe get up and stretch and whatnot.

Based on prevalence, there are just as many people with schizophrenia as there are people with autism. In the cases of both conditions, the prevalence will continue to increase not because there is some “tidal wave”, “hurricane”, or “emergency” of number of incident cases. Nope. The prevalence will continue to increase because people with these conditions are being treated and accepted — diagnosed and intervened on — and allowed to be part of society. No longer are they being institutionalized in the same manner or proportion as they were in the past.

But we don’t “see” them everywhere because these kinds of conditions manifest themselves at A) a certain age, and B) as a spectrum. You don’t see kids with schizophrenia because it manifests in young adulthood. You don’t see a lot of schizophrenic adults because they are either being treated for their condition and lead “normal” lives or are institutionalized (e.g. sanatoria or even jail). Likewise, you don’t “see” autistic children everywhere because, well, seriously, how many of us wander around elementary schools? And the 1 in 88 adults? I’ll get to that in a second.

By the way, I have several friends with mental health issues, including schizophrenia, and central nervous systems that are not typical, and I love them to death. But I digress…

The author of the misinformed, misconstrued blog post then want to see the following:

“The problem is no one has ever been able to show us the one in 88 adults with autism.”

The author wants to believe — or make her readers believe —  that 1 in 88 adults has autism. I hope it’s an oversight on the author’s part because the prevalence rate on autism is for children. Here, I’ll show you:

“About 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.”

It’s children. There are less children than adults in the United States. So you can’t extrapolate that number willy-nilly without use of some biostatistics. Again, if only she had a [expletive] epidemiologist to help her sort these things out and not read so idiotic.

Finally, if you can do me a favor and not even mention the author’s name in the comments. She’s been known to go all “decepticon” and have her bot fill comments sections with what can be best described as manure.