Saturday, October 4, 2014

Brian Hooker's Paper on Increased risk of ASD in African American Boys Retracted

Just a very quick post to let my readers know a bit of recent news about that whole Hooker-MMR-CDC coverup nonsense. The journal that originally published Brian Hooker's paper originally issued a statement of concern about the conclusions and possible undeclared conflicts of interest. Yesterday, October 3, 2014, the journal fully retracted Hooker's paper. Here is their statement regarding the retraction:
The Editor and Publisher regretfully retract the article [1] as there were undeclared competing interests on the part of the author which compromised the peer review process. Furthermore, post-publication peer review raised concerns about the validity of the methods and statistical analysis, therefore the Editors no longer have confidence in the soundness of the findings. We apologise to all affected parties for the inconvenience caused.
I sent an email to the journal asking for more details. If I get a response, I will update this post accordingly.

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What does this mean for the anti-vaccine movement? It means that they have another big strike against them. This is yet another example of how their members try to shoehorn science to fit their ideology, rather than adjusting their beliefs to fit the evidence. Brian Hooker, who has an open case under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and desperately wants to prove that vaccines caused his son's autism, conducted very simplistic statistical analyses to arrive at his preconceived conclusion that vaccines cause autism. He did what scientists are never supposed to do: start with a conclusion and then search for evidence to support that conclusion. Real scientists start with a hypothesis, then put that hypothesis to the test.

And what does this mean for William Thompson, the alleged CDC whistleblower? According to the anti-vaccine community, and especially Brian Hooker, Thompson "led" [Edited to Add (10/21/14): as noted in the Focus Autism press release] Hooker to the data showing the purported increased risk of autism among African American boys. This certainly does not speak well to Thompson's judgment. He confided in an individual who recorded him without his knowledge, broadcast those recordings without his consent, and linked his name to a horrendously flawed study that was ultimately retracted due to those flaws and omissions.

I almost feel bad for anti-vaccine people who put so much faith and emotion into supporting incompetents like Brian Hooker. But then I remember the harm that they do.

Any updates to this story will be added at the end.

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