Why did Hooker analyze data as if they were for a cohort? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 73 Old 09-07-2014, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why did Hooker analyze data as if they were for a cohort?

This has been discussed on a lot of the science/vaccine/skeptic blogs, but I don't think I've seen a single non vax person or non vax blog respond to this criticism.

Thankfully, I found a blog post that goes more in depth into why and how Hooker's analysis was wrong.

A couple disclaimers: I got permission from the author to post as much of the blog post as I wanted. Second, I do not agree with all of his writings, particularly evolution and how old the earth is. In any case, his posts on vaccines have been spot on. Just goes to show, you don't have to agree with everything a person believes to still think they make a good point on an issue He has a Ph. D in nuclear chemistry and is a scientist.

"Let’s start with the original study, which is supposedly now “fraudulent” because these new data were uncovered. It looked at 624 children with autism and matched them to 1,824 children who didn’t have autism. Right away, then, we see that this is a case-controlled study. Such studies are useful because there are probably a lot of factors that determine whether or not a child has autism. In order to compare autistic children with non-autistic children, then, researchers must try to compare “equivalent children.” A case-controlled study tries to do that, because it specifically looks for non-autistic children that have the same relevant characteristics as the autistic children being studied (school district, the age of the mother at birth, the kind of birth that was experienced, etc., etc.). Here is what they found:1

Similar proportions of case and control children were vaccinated by the recommended age or shortly after (ie, before 18 months) and before the age by which atypical development is usually recognized in children with autism (ie, 24 months). Vaccination before 36 months was more common among case children than control children, especially among children 3 to 5 years of age, likely reflecting immunization requirements for enrollment in early intervention programs.

So the percentage of children who got the MMR vaccine before the age when most autistic children show signs of autism was the same in both groups. This indicates the MMR vaccine has no effect on autism. However, the authors do note that if you expand the age of vaccination to 36 months, a slightly larger percentage of autistic children (93.4%) had gotten the MMR than non-autistic children (90.6%). Since this is past the age when most autistic children show signs of autism, the authors suggest that the small difference was probably related to the vaccination requirement for early intervention programs. If a parent had an unvaccinated autistic child and wanted early intervention, he or she would have to deal with the issue sooner.

What about the new study that supposedly includes the data that weren’t included in the original study? Why does it come to a different conclusion? Well, let’s first look at why these data weren’t included in the original study. They were from children who didn’t have a Georgia birth certificate! Remember, the original study was a case-controlled study. It needed to match autistic children to non-autistic children. One of the things you want to match is the conditions that occur at birth. If the child was born in another state, the conditions would likely be different. Thus, you don’t want those children in a study that is trying to match children as closely as possible! Rather than being the result of some sort of “coverup,” then, the data were excluded because they didn’t meet the criteria of the study. Another kind of study might have been able to use those data, but this kind of study could not.

That brings me to the second problem associated with this new study. The author used the wrong data analysis method. He treated the data like they were gathered for a cohort study and analyzed them that way. This doesn’t work. In a cohort study, you need large sample sizes. Since you aren’t trying to match autistic and non-autistic children, you need to hope that all the other factors that contribute to autism average out between the groups you are comparing. The only way to do that is to have a very large sample size. For example, a good cohort study on the MMR vaccine and autism was published in 2002.2 It studied 537,303 children. That’s a good sample size for a cohort study, and it found no relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism.

The number of children in this new study is great for a case-controlled study, but it is very poor for a cohort study. So using cohort study techniques on a case-controlled study is like using a knife as a screwdriver. You’re just using the wrong tool for the job.

The reason the new study sees the effect among African American boys is that they represent an even smaller sample. As a result, the analysis technique the author is using is even more unfit for this group. When you use the wrong tool for the job, you often end up with bad results. That’s what has happened here.

I am not surprised that Translational Neurodegeneration pulled the paper. I am surprised they published it in the first place." http://blog.drwile.com/?page_id=4

"Cohort studies are particularly advantageous for examining rare exposures because subjects are selected by their exposure status. Additionally, the investigator can examine multiple outcomes simultaneously. Disadvantages include the need for a large sample size and the potentially long follow-up duration of the study design resulting in a costly endeavor."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2998589/

This would be equivalent to someone publishing a cohort study on 18 children that showed children who drank formula were healthier/smarter than children who drank breast milk and then watching people subsequently lose their minds and state that this is definitive evidence that formula is better for babies than breast milk. Somehow I don't think you guys would be very convinced....

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#2 of 73 Old 09-08-2014, 11:44 AM
 
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Thanks for sharing that teacozy.

For those of you who think this is the big study that shows vaccines have been wrong all along - what do you make of this critique?
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#3 of 73 Old 09-08-2014, 12:10 PM
 
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Puzzled that Thompson said they omitted info.
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#4 of 73 Old 09-08-2014, 01:20 PM
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Yes because "school district, the age of the mother at birth, the kind of birth that was experienced" is completely relevant to neurodevelopmental disorders...
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#5 of 73 Old 09-08-2014, 01:47 PM
 
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Also puzzled that they didn't follow their own protocol.
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Thanks for sharing that teacozy.

For those of you who think this is the big study that shows vaccines have been wrong all along - what do you make of this critique?

I don't, and never have felt that way. From where I sit, all Hooker's re-analysis did was give the vaccine machine something to focus on to take away from this:

"I regret my co-authors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data was collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.” William Thomson, CDC Senior Scientist

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Yes because "school district, the age of the mother at birth, the kind of birth that was experienced" is completely relevant to neurodevelopmental disorders...
Yes, it matters. That is kind of the whole point of a case-controlled study....

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Study protocol matters too.
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#9 of 73 Old 09-08-2014, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't, and never have felt that way. From where I sit, all Hooker's re-analysis did was give the vaccine machine something to focus on to take away from this:

"I regret my co-authors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data was collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.” William Thomson, CDC Senior Scientist
Maybe you personally don't, but comments made here and on other non vax sites like AoA are absolutely treating this like it's a smoking gun.

"I appreciate this revelation and the confirmation that yes, vaccines do cause autism, but it won’t change Ronan’s future." For example.

From a youtube video I linked in the VOS forum, this was the first comment:

"Not born with it. Autism is caused by the vaccines. Dr. Wakefield's study has been proven to have been accurate...Dr. Thompson just confessed to the 2004 study he was a co-author of having fraudulently manipulated and concealed the results, which proved that vaccines cause autism. " To which someone replied "Yes, this is already a dated documentary, because Wakefield was exonerated... "

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

This "study" by Hooker did no such thing, and neither did Thompson's statements. If I recall correctly, Hooker said that Thompson helped him with this reanalysis, so if this is the way Thompson went about concluding that certain omitted data showed AA males were at higher risk of autism, then he's wrong too. So far though, Thompson has not provided any evidence or numbers of his own that show anything statistically relevant was covered up or omitted. The CDC and his fellow researchers are not corroborating his statements. Again, the data is there for any researcher or scientist to look at and analyze as they see fit.

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Maybe you personally don't, but comments made here and on other non vax sites like AoA are absolutely treating this like it's a smoking gun.
I've never gone to the website- anti-vaxxers wall of shame, but I've seen a lot of quotes taken from it. Some really, really, really, really...um... doozies. Would you like to be lumped in with those people and put in a position where you are expected to have to defend/apologize for it? I would think not. This is like blaming a current partner for what your ex did in that relationship.

In the meantime, Thompson has hired a lawyer who specializes in whistleblower cases and has sent on documents to and is working with a Congressman.
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I've never gone to the website- anti-vaxxers wall of shame, but I've seen a lot of quotes taken from it. Some really, really, really, really...um... doozies. Would you like to be lumped in with those people and put in a position where you are expected to have to defend/apologize for it? I would think not. This is like blaming a current partner for what your ex did in that relationship.

In the meantime, Thompson has hired a lawyer who specializes in whistleblower cases and has sent on documents to and is working with a Congressman.
I said comments made here and other places. You really want me to copy and past them?

For clarification, are you conceding that Hookers "reanalysis" is garbage and not "proof" of any increase in autism in African American males then? Are you conceding that there is no objective evidence as of yet that anything has been covered up or omitted?

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teacozy: #hearthiswell :

From Dr Thompson's press release via his lawyers, whistleblower lawyers:

Quote:
My name is William Thompson. I am a Senior Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, where I have worked since 1998.

I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.

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teacozy: #hearthiswell :

From Dr Thompson's press release via his lawyers, whistleblower lawyers:
Hear this well :

"I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits."

Thompson says so is not objective evidence.

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Hear this well :

"I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits."

Thompson says so is not objective evidence.
Boilerplate statement, to ensure he isn't considered a 'nutjob' like Andy Wakefield. The important part of the press release is at the top. I wrote press releases for a living for many, many years, you put the take home message in the beginning, because most journalists don't bother to read the whole thing.

#CDCWhistleBlower

What do yo think Dr Thompson has handed over to Congressman Posey? 100,000 pages of glowing praise for vaccines?

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Boilerplate statement, to ensure he isn't considered a 'nutjob' like Andy Wakefield. The important part of the press release is at the top. I wrote press releases for a living for many, many years, you put the take home message in the beginning, because most journalists don't bother to read the whole thing.

#CDCWhistleBlower

What do yo think Dr Thompson has handed over to Congressman Posey? 100,000 pages of glowing praise for vaccines?
Lol.

Yes, I've seen this and similar sentiments expressed by non vaxxers. "He's lying about believing vaccine benefits outweigh the risks!" "He was lying when he said he would never suggest parents not vaccinate their child!" "He's lying when he says he didn't know he was being recorded!"

If he's such an untrustworthy liar, why should we take anything he says at face value? This only further demonstrates the need for objective evidence to support his claims.

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I did not say he was lying about vaccines, I am sure he believes they have saved many, many lives. He is just admitting the CDC falsified research, and I am sure those 100,000 pages he sent to Congressman Posey say the same thing. I also did not say he lied about not knowing he was taped. You are reading too much Orac.

BTW:


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If he's such an untrustworthy liar, why should we take anything he says at face value? This only further demonstrates the need for objective evidence to support his claims.
Oh, the man has a conscious, that is why he came forward. Yes, his hand was forced by Dr Wakefield and Dr Hooker outing him, but he hired a law firm that specializes in whistleblowers and he is now working with Congressman Posey. He appears to be an honorable man, unlike the other authors of the 2004 study.

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I did not say he was lying about vaccines, I am sure he believes they have saved many, many lives. He is just admitting the CDC falsified research, and I am sure those 100,000 pages he sent to Congressman Posey say the same thing. I also did not say he lied about not knowing he was taped. You are reading too much Orac.

BTW:

I said non vax, not anti vax. That is the term we were asked to use by the non vax members here.

Your post implied that those statements were just fillers and only made as to not make him look like a "nut job". You said they were not important. Why are they not important? He deliberately wrote those statements and released them through his lawyer. Who are you to say what he does and doesn't think is important or significant?

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I said non vax, not anti vax. That is the term we were asked to use by the non vax members here.

Your post implied that those statements were just fillers and only made as to not make him look like a "nut job". You said they were not important. Why are they not important? He deliberately wrote those statements and released them through his lawyer. Who are you to say what he does and doesn't think is important or significant?

The important part is that he admitted that he and his colleagues omitted significant information in the 2004 study. teacozy, I told you, I worked in PR (pharmaceutical co) and you put the take home message up front, so it is easy to for journalists to see. You don't stick the important part of a press release down at the bottom as an after-thought. It is also there to keep him credible and not labeled as anti-vax - THE MAN WORKS FOR THE CDC and presumably still wanted to keep his job (that is why he hired the whistleblower lawyers).

#HouseOfCards

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The important part is that he admitted that he and his colleagues omitted significant information in the 2004 study. teacozy, I told you, I worked in PR (pharmaceutical co) and you put the take home message up front, so it is easy to for journalists to see. You don't stick the important part of a press release down at the bottom as an after-thought. It is also there to keep him credible and not labeled as anti-vax - THE MAN WORKS FOR THE CDC and presumably still wanted to keep his job (that is why he hired the whistleblower lawyers).

#HouseOfCards
It wasn't "down at the bottom". It was the second out of 7 total paragraphs (unless you want to count the sentence where he states his name and place of work as a paragraph, in which case it would be the third out of 8). Thats the top.

Unless Thompson releases a verified statement that he doesn't think those statements are important, it's just your biased opinion that they aren't.

I do think he got a "whistleblower" lawyer simply as a precaution to insure his job was secure. It's illegal to fire a whistleblower in most cases, so that makes sense.

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Gosh, it looks like we have a major difference of a opinion. I've got the statistical stuff out with a friend who is good at that stuff for analysis. I'll get back to you all.

Protocol?
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#22 of 73 Old 09-08-2014, 05:08 PM
 
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Teacozy as much as you want this to be nothing. It is not. This is a big deal because Thompson has admitted that the CDC committed fraud. You can nitpick Hooker's study till the cow's come home, but that does not diminish what Thompson has done by coming forward.

Can't wait to see what he has given Posey.
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Teacozy as much as you want this to be nothing. It is not. This is a big deal because Thompson has admitted that the CDC committed fraud. You can nitpick Hooker's study till the cow's come home, but that does not diminish what Thompson has done by coming forward.

Can't wait to see what he has given Posey.
Thompson believing it or saying so doesn't make it true. Until there is some objective evidence, this is going to go around in circles. The rest of his colleagues and the CDC are not corroborating these claims and have even provided instructions on the CDC website on how other scientists/researchers can access the full data to use themselves. There has been zero objective evidence provided by Thompson thus far.

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And yeah, it does matter that Hooker's study is rubbish. So far, that is the only "evidence" provided that the data showed AA boys have an increased risk of autism after the MMR.

Since that "study" has been thoroughly debunked and retracted by the journal it was published in, it's back to not having any objective evidence of any such thing.

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I said comments made here and other places. You really want me to copy and past them?

For clarification, are you conceding that Hookers "reanalysis" is garbage and not "proof" of any increase in autism in African American males then? Are you conceding that there is no objective evidence as of yet that anything has been covered up or omitted?
Asking people to defend/disassociate themselves from other people's comments especially when they are from places other than here is rather odd and hardly in the spirit of fair play. However seeing as I find it difficult to separate out what is your actual opinion and what is transplanted commentary from other people from the web pages you visit, perhaps you don't find it that odd.

I don't understand how what I wrote about Thompson hiring a whistleblower lawyer and working with a congressman should lead me to concede anything.
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And yeah, it does matter that Hooker's study is rubbish. So far, that is the only "evidence" provided that the data showed AA boys have an increased risk of autism after the MMR.

Since that "study" has been thoroughly debunked and retracted by the journal it was published in, it's back to not having any objective evidence of any such thing.
So, you are saying that William Thompson is a liar and that he put out a false press release stating that he and his colleagues omitted information in a study?

They study has not been thoroughly debunked, but yes, it has been removed from the public domain:

Quote:
This article has been removed from the public domain because of serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions. The journal and publisher believe that its continued availability may not be in the public interest. Definitive editorial action will be pending further investigation.
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Asking people to defend/disassociate themselves from other people's comments especially when they are from places other than here is rather odd and hardly in the spirit of fair play. However seeing as I find it difficult to separate out what is your actual opinion and what is transplanted commentary from other people from the web pages you visit, perhaps you don't find it that odd.

I don't understand how what I wrote about Thompson hiring a whistleblower lawyer and working with a congressman should lead me to concede anything.
When did I ask anyone to defend those statements? I was pointing out that they exist and are being widely spread and repeated by virtually every non vax site I've been to. There are lurkers in this forum that I post for as well. It's important that they have this information.

You said "Would you like to be lumped in with those people and put in a position where you are expected to have to defend/apologize for it? I would think not. This is like blaming a current partner for what your ex did in that relationship."

That was said in response to my statement that there are a lot of people who think this evidence is a smoking gun. If you agree, then you are "one of them" who agrees, so to speak. Your post seemed to say that you were not one of the many people who think so, but I wasn't sure which is why I asked for clarification.

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#28 of 73 Old 09-08-2014, 06:09 PM
 
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Teacozy wrote:
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If he's such an untrustworthy liar, why should we take anything he says at face value? This only further demonstrates the need for objective evidence to support his claims.
Liars are by definition untrustworthy. And in the case of Thompson, he definitely lied at some point, the challenge is figuring out which statements are lies and which are not. But some of it has to be untrue.

I'll run through it.

If he told the truth about removing some data from the original study, then he and his co-authors lied by omission when they put their names on the 2004 study.

If he is lying now about omitting data, then he is still a liar.

No way around it.

So yes, if he is a liar you can't trust anything he says now or ever said and he could perfectly well be spouting BS about the wonders of vaccination.

Bit of a conundrum.
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#29 of 73 Old 09-08-2014, 06:11 PM
 
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The study is back up with an expression of concern about conflicts of interest. http://www.translationalneurodegener...content/3/1/18
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#30 of 73 Old 09-08-2014, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Mirzam View Post
So, you are saying that William Thompson is a liar and that he put out a false press release stating that he and his colleagues omitted information in a study?

They study has not been thoroughly debunked, but yes, it has been removed from the public domain:



No, I never said he was a liar. I believe that he believes relevant information was omitted, but that doesn't make it factually true. Like he said, reasonable scientists can disagree about these things. That does not constitute a fraud or cover up. Until we see some sort of analysis or objective evidence from him, there is just nothing really to go on here.

Do you guys really not care about seeing the evidence and numbers for yourself? Taking his word for it without any concrete evidence whatsoever is enough for you? Because there is no possible way that he's just you know, wrong about the numbers?

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