Cutting-edge science and long-pondered questions explained in plain English. Bad science gutted. Great science extolled.

Monday, February 09, 2009


Peanuts contaminated with Salmonella typhimurium have made us all a little peanut-phobic. Yesterday, my favorite lo-carb bars were recalled. 

Sadness and woe.

Hundreds, if not thousands of peanut-containing products have been recalled. This handy little widget below will help you determine if your favorite nutrition bar might now be deadly biohazard waste. 

This widget will also be on the left-hand tool bar for the foreseeable future. 

FDA Salmonella <span class=Typhimurium Outbreak 2009. Flash Player 9 is required.">

The good news is that most peanut butter, like Skippy or Jif, is safe. If you're craving peanut consumables, try these easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Good luck out there. 

TK Kenyon

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Autism / Vaccination Link: Research May Have Been Fake

TK Kenyon, your intrepid scientist for non-majors, is not surprised to tell you that The Times of London has reported that the doctor who originally reporting in 1998 that he found a link between the MMR vaccine and sudden onset of autism may have faked his data. 

If so, this is a huge case of medical fraud. 

The Times of London reports:  

[The original Lancet paper] claimed that the families of eight out of 12 children attending a routine clinic at the hospital had blamed MMR for their autism, and said that problems came on within days of the jab. The team also claimed to have discovered a new inflammatory bowel disease underlying the children’s conditions.
However, our investigation, confirmed by evidence presented to the General Medical Council (GMC), reveals that: In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records. Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated. Hospital pathologists, looking for inflammatory bowel disease, reported in the majority of cases that the gut was normal. This was then reviewed and the Lancet paper showed them as abnormal.

This is damning evidence. I mean, seriously. This is far worse than the fact that some other reports have not found the same conclusion. Autism is clearly a spectrum of conditions with similar behavioral and physiological symptoms. Not finding exactly the same results could be accounted for. 
However, in this case, ToL reviewed the kids' charts and found that the original doctor, Andrew Wakefield, misstated what was in these kids' records. Wakefield either lied or was terribly mistaken. 
Instead of 8/12 children having an onset of autism after the MMR vaccine, only 1 did. That's just a terrible error. 
While Wakefield said that he identified a bowel pathology associated with autism, pathologists could not find evidence of this in the original kids' original slides. That's gross negligence. 
This is just another nail in the vaccine-autism coffin.