Twitter Response to Rosewind on 4/22/19

1. Rosewind keeps asserting they amended the protocol because they did not find any reported cases of POTS/CRPS. This is a blatant lie and serious allegation of misconduct without any evidence. They knew ahead of time they would not find any reported cases – otherwise why would they need to see the CSRs? No one seriously thought there were reported cases that were just hidden by fraud. They suspected the cases were undiagnosed. Given this, as the original protocol says, they expected to receive patient level narratives where they could make a diagnosis of each patient. They were surprised they did not receive that information and the data available in the CSRs was so poor they wrote a separate journal article about it. Since they did not get the data they needed, they had to amend their protocol to analyze the much lower quality data that was available. This is what the amendment is about. Not the crap allegations of misconduct Rosewind keeps making. Her claims are reprehensible and without any evidence.

2. She likes to troll about “post hoc explaratory harms analysis” like it by definition is invalid. She sounds like a Republican politician making fun of scientific studies because they have funny names. This was what they were forced to do because THE DATA SUBMITTED TO REGULATORY AGENCIES IS SO POOR. A real scientist would be concerned that the quality of data regulators hold is so poor that no independent analysis can actually be undertaken. This means the regulatory agencies themselves could not possibly have undertaken any analysis. This is scary and many real scientists have expressed great concern over this. Again, this was so alarming it was worthy of a journal paper itself in the BMJ.

3. Sure, they did not prove it caused POTS and CRPS because AS A RESULT OF THE POOR DATA, THEY HAD TO PERFORM A LESS DESIRABLE ANALYSIS THAT COULD NOT PROVE CAUSATION. They reiterated their call to get access to the patient narratives. If everyone is so sure they will not prove anything, WHY WON’T THE COMPANIES PROVIDE THEM THE DATA THEY NEED? IF THIS GROUP OF PEOPLE IS SO CONFIDENT, WHY DON’T YOU CALL FOR THE COMPANIES TO PROVIDE THEM THE DATA? Finally, while they did not prove causation, they were very open about that fact and continue to qualify their statements. It is clear Gotzsche (and Jefferson) strongly believe the data they are seeing is real harm, but their statements in the paper are qualified appropriately. In fact, they are so qualified that this group is amplifying their qualifying statements in an attempt to diminish the findings. This is a dishonest tactic.

4. This paper is a tour de force in meta-analysis. It’s funny that this group was so mad when these authors criticized the Cochrane review on HPV vaccines, yet they criticize this paper with no remorse or sense of irony. It’s obvious what is going on there is simply this group’s reflexive defense of the HPV vaccine. It is clear this paper is far more comprehensive than the Cochrane review and represents an order of magnitude more effort and skill. This is not surprising given that the authors of this paper are responsible for a great deal of *how meta-analysis is performed worldwide*.

Further, leading experts in evidence based medicine, including Gotzsche, Ioannidis, Chalmers, and many, many more, have long lamented the potential for meta-analysis to simply be a laundry list of checkboxes and to instill confidence in data where it is not warranted. These pioneers of meta-analysis are recognizing that meta-analysis can have serious limitations and that purely checking off the boxes is not enough. The post hoc analysis in this review goes beyond mere checking of boxes and looks to see if something is being missed. The problem is no one wants them to look, and that is a serious issue in science today around vaccines. It is no secret that scientists are self-censoring around vaccines and quality papers have been rejected due to a climate of fear. The treatment of Gotzsche and this paper only serves to amplify that fear to astronomical levels.

We are talking about a widely respected researcher – a pioneer in the field of EBM – who did not want to be involved in this issue. He was dragged in by vaccine advocates and when he disagreed with them they undertook a campaign of character assassination that has resulted in loss of his career. The amount of fear this will cause is off the charts. No one will dare wade into this issue with any critical assessment. Anyone who says otherwise is delusional.

I always thought that scientists were supposed to be better than this. That they were not like the other side – the “anti-vaxxers” who make unsupported claims. But scientists are human and they fall to the same human instincts. Opposition by anti-vaxx groups has bred a like-minded opposite mindset among some scientists. They follow ends justify the means thought patterns. They started out years ago with websites devoted to “skepticism” and they made a lot of noise about logical fallacies and the importance of logical thinking. But read their articles today and they are littered with logical fallacies. They no longer care how much sense they make, but rather whether they are “defeating the enemy”.

I see a parallel in politics in the US. For years, Bob Somerby warned that liberals were becoming just like conservatives – that they were losing their respect for the truth. They were becoming more willing to play political games. Somerby warned this would lead to disaster because conservatives control the board (money). This has played out. At first I reacted negatively to his assertions. I couldn’t believe that “my tribe” could be just as bad (in many ways they are still not). But over time the evidence was so glaring.

With experience in life, I have sought out people I believe have unimpeachable integrity. People who are willing to risk everything for their principles. One of those people is Peter Gotzsche. Another one is Glenn Greenwald, who seems to be somewhat of a parallel to Gotzsche in politics, though not the same. Greenwald has been ostracized by many and called a Russian spy simply because he has been critical of the Mueller investigation. That is a bizarre and ridiculous claim. It’s hard to find someone more liberal than Greenwald. He criticized it because 1) he thought it was doomed to disappoint and would be a major political setback, empowering Trump, and 2) he fears for good reason that powerful forces in the US government are trying to turn Russia back into another bogeyman and war target – for profit and political gain, of course.

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