BioMed Central Breaks Policy by Retracting Brian Hooker’s Study

retraction guidelines

By Jake Crosby

Above is a summary of the reasons that justify a possible paper retraction, according to Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)’s retraction guidelines that are also used by BioMed Central (BMC). However, none of the above reasons were even mentioned in BMC journal Translational Neurodegeneration’s below justification for retracting Dr. Brian Hooker’s study, “Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young african american boys: a reanalysis of CDC data”:hookerretraction


Clear evidence of unreliability, duplication, plagiarism and unethical research are all valid considerations for retracting a paper, but “concerns” are not according to the very retraction guidelines BMC says it follows. Such considerations do not include “undeclared competing interests” either. Although alerting readers to such non-disclosures may serve as a purpose of a retraction according to COPE, they are not justification for a retraction.

BMC’s retraction of Dr. Hooker’s paper is only the latest of policy breaches by the publisher after it deleted his article from its website in breach of policy on the permanency of articles. Citing a then-pending investigation, BMC refused to comment on that violation when contacted by Autism Investigated. Now with the paper retracted in breach of yet more policies supposedly followed by BMC, the publisher has even more explaining to do.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

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109 Thoughts on “BioMed Central Breaks Policy by Retracting Brian Hooker’s Study

  1. Lawrence on October 5, 2014 at 12:31 pm said:

    @Jake – perhaps you should wait or at least inquire as to the formal findings of the internal investigations of the Journal or better yet, Hooker should have received the results of the investigation – why don’t you ask him?

    • Who says I didn’t make any inquiries?

      • Lawrence on October 5, 2014 at 10:16 pm said:

        @Jake – that’s not much of a “journalistic” answer…..if you made inquiries, then you should report the results of those inquiries.

        Also, the stated reason for retraction was “undeclared competing conflicts of interest” – wherein the validity of the study (or lack thereof) was just icing on the cake for pulling the article.

        Since the Journal is well within their rights to retract an article if it violates published or even unpublished policies – such as an author not properly declaring any and all conflicts of interest, your left with throwing out some semantic arguments.

        Again, Hooker would have received a formal notice of retraction, which would detail any and all issues – and since you two are best buds, I’m surprised that he hasn’t given you that information so that you could properly report on the proceedings.

        Otherwise, you’re just throwing up a smokescreen…..and not acting very much like an actual journalist.

        • And who says I won’t?

          The journal’s publisher follows guidelines for retracting articles, and “undeclared competing conflicts of interest” are not justification for retracting a paper per those guidelines. Ergo the publisher is not following the policies it says it follows and is acting dishonestly. In order to know this, we need to know two things – what those guidelines say and what the retraction says. Since the latter does not match up with the former, the publisher violated its policies.

  2. jennifer on October 5, 2014 at 1:17 pm said:

    Jake: you have faulty logic.

    Man goes swimming naked in a pond signposted “No fishing”. Parks police ticket him for public nudity. His defense: “You said I couldn’t fish, not that I couldn’t go bareassed.”

    You would benefit from learning the necessary and sufficient conditional if you are not to flunk epidemiology. This is: “if, and only if”.

    • Except there would still have to be a law on the books against public indecency.

      There is nothing in COPE’s formal retraction guidelines that BMC claims it follows which justifies a retraction on the basis of on undeclared competing interest or mere “concerns.”

      • Argus Filch on October 6, 2014 at 4:08 pm said:

        Jake, did you read past the bullet points at the top of the COPE guideline document?

        Further down it says:

        “The purpose of retraction

        Retraction is a mechanism for correcting the literature and alerting readers to publications that contain such seriously flawed or erroneous data that their findings and conclusions cannot be relied upon. Unreliable data may result from honest error or from research misconduct.
        Retractions are also used to alert readers to cases of redundant publication (i.e. when authors present the same data in several publications), plagiarism, and failure to diJake, did you read the entire COPE guideline document? There is more than just the bullet points at the top.

        Further down it says:

        “The purpose of retraction

        Retraction is a mechanism for correcting the literature and alerting readers to publications that contain such seriously flawed or erroneous data that their findings and conclusions cannot be relied upon. Unreliable data may result from honest error or from research misconduct.
        Retractions are also used to alert readers to cases of redundant publication (i.e. when authors present the same data in several publications), plagiarism, and failure to disclose a major competing interest likely to influence interpretations or recommendations.”sclose a major competing interest likely to influence interpretations or recommendations.”

        So failure to disclose a competing interest is clearly part the guidelines. Your statement to the contrary is wrong.

        • Looks like someone didn’t read the following sentence in my post:

          “Although alerting readers to such non-disclosures may serve as a purpose of a retraction according to COPE, they are not justification for a retraction.”

  3. When I read the text of the retraction, it looks to me like there was an issue with suggested reviewers. This may be why they mention that the peer review process was compromised. Here’s their policy on that issue:

    “During submission you will be asked to provide a cover letter. Use this to explain why your manuscript should be published in the journal, to elaborate on any issues relating to our editorial policies in the ‘About Translational Neurodegeneration’ page, and to declare any potential competing interests. You will be also asked to provide the contact details (including email addresses) of potential peer reviewers for your manuscript. These should be experts in their field, who will be able to provide an objective assessment of the manuscript. Any suggested peer reviewers should not have published with any of the authors of the manuscript within the past five years, should not be current collaborators, and should not be members of the same research institution. Suggested reviewers will be considered alongside potential reviewers recommended by the Editor-in-Chief and/or Editorial Board members.”

    If the journal thinks that the peer-review process was compromised, and they have listened to the commentary such as from Orac and Jim Frost at the Minitab blog, they may believe there were fundamental, scientific issues with this manuscript.

    • “Orac and Jim Frost at the Minitab blog” -who are not reliable sources.

      • That is a convenient excuse to dismiss legitimate criticism albeit in conflict of your own beliefs but your response isn’t answering the question. You have yet to explain how Hooker’s paper was a proper re-analysis of the DeStefano et al. data set. Hooker himself admitted he wasn’t very smart and so chose to use a simplistic statistical method. It was a method that was innappropriate for a multivariable case-control dataset. Not to mention that age stratification by race left a very small subgroup where he just so happened to find a statistical correlation. I find it very disconcerting that as an MPH and a PhD student in epidemiology, where you have presumably had some graduate level statistics courses, that you can’t seem to form a cogent defence of Hooker’s methods.

        • You fundamentally misunderstand Brian Hooker’s paper. He was not conducting a case-control study from scratch only to compute relative risk as if he designed a cohort study. He was conducting a reanalysis of a study already published based on specific information he had received from one of that study’s coauthors. That information was that associations found for early MMR and autism in a particular subgroup were omitted from publication. So Hooker conducted a simple analysis to quantify that risk among that particular subgroup of study participants to see if the results supported what the whistleblower was saying. In doing so, he stratified for all the key variables, and the results were significant despite being found in arguably small groups. All of your “legitimate criticism” of Brian’s methods amounts to doubt-casting and does nothing to actually refute the positive associations found, much less justify the retraction of his paper.

          • No Jake, I do not fundamentally misunderstand Hooker’s reanalysis at all. The fact that he treated a case-control dataset as a cohort dataset is problematic in and of itself. You should know that a cohort study is a population without the outcome of interest that is selected based upon exposure and then followed in time until or if the outcome of interest occurs. Hooker treated the data this way. Of course cohort studies may be retrospective in nature but in this case was missing data.

            Whereas a case-control study, subjects are selected by outcome of interest and grouped accordingly into cases or controls. Data for potential risk factors are collected. In this case, the hospital worksheets that could be obtained based upon birth certificates. Case-controls are used to examine multiple risk factors/exposures.

            The outcome i.e. an ASD diagnosis was not defined in terms of temporal association with MMR. In other words, it is unknown which came first and that alone invalidates Hooker’s treatment of this dataset. The rest, the statistical methods for example is just more wrong. Hooker didn’t “stratify for all the key variables” because of what I described above. Thompson isn’t an epidemiologist nor a statistician and pointed another non-epidemiologist/non-statistician to a problem he thought he saw and the result is simply erroneous, spurious at best.

            • What Brian Hooker was trying to do was simply reanalyze data from an existing study so as to enumerate and quantify the risk of having an ASD diagnosis across early and later MMR-vaccinated groups, based on what was told to him by an original study author. So he did that reanalysis specifically stratifying for variables relevant to the study participant subgroup the association was found in. You can take issue with his measurement or claim he didn’t stratify for enough variables all you want, but it doesn’t refute or explain away the association found.

              • “So he did that reanalysis specifically stratifying for variables relevant to the study participant subgroup the association was found in. You can take issue with his measurement or claim he didn’t stratify for enough variables all you want, but it doesn’t refute or explain away the association found.”

                You are merely asserting the same erroneous claim over again. It’s not that he didn’t stratify by enough variables, it’s that he didn’t control for all of the variables that are risk factors or suspected risk factors for autism. When he crunched the data as a cohort set then exposure to the risk factor, i.e. MMR matters and findings will be spurious or just plain wrong.

                • “…he didn’t control for all of the variables that are risk factors or suspected risk factors for autism.”

                  Given the sheer number of risk factors and suspected risk factors for autism, I don’t think a study that controls for all such variables as you describe even exists. I don’t even think such a study is even possible.

                  “…findings will be spurious or just plain wrong.”

                  Well that’s your opinion…

                  • Well that’s your opinion…

                    An educated opinion. The AA children in the 24-36 (31 actually) group were only n=13 and had a higher prevalence of low birth weight than in non-AA groups. This was not controlled for which is a known risk factor for ASD diagnoses. Of course it’s impossible to control for all variables but Hooker didn’t control for any and that is also why his re-analysis is wrong.

                  • justthestats on October 9, 2014 at 10:11 pm said:

                    Given the sheer number of risk factors and suspected risk factors for autism, I don’t think a study that controls for all such variables as you describe even exists. I don’t even think such a study is even possible.

                    If only there were a way to control for multiple variables in a single study

                    …findings will be spurious or just plain wrong.”

                    Well that’s your opinion…

                    He took data that wasn’t randomly sampled and then used a procedure that requires randomly sampled data in order to use. It’s not an “opinion” that that will lead to spurious and wrong results. It’s like putting diesel fuel in a gasoline engine — you put the wrong thing in and you’ll get the wrong thing out.

                    • Not denying there is a way to control for multiple variables in a study, but there must be thousands of “risk factors and suspected risk factors for autism.” I don’t see how you’d fit all that in one study.

                      I guess you think the CDC’s results must be spurious too…

                    • justthestats on October 15, 2014 at 6:42 pm said:

                      Not denying there is a way to control for multiple variables in a study, but there must be thousands of “risk factors and suspected risk factors for autism.” I don’t see how you’d fit all that in one study.

                      Thousands of variables might be enough to keep study participants from finishing the survey, but you could definitely include more than just race and age at vaccination, especially in this case where he already had the data available. I would suggest starting with those variables already established to have correlations with autism diagnosis rates.

                      I guess you think the CDC’s results must be spurious too… [link]

                      It’s hard to make head or tail of that without any methodology section or even all the headings and footers, but assuming a p value of .05, since there are 40 reported values, the chances of there being at least one spurious result in that table is 1-(0.95^40), or 87.15%. So yeah, with those caveats I’d say it’s highly likely that there are spurious results in that table.

                      But the title, “Race Interactions for Total Sample” makes it sound to me like it’s reporting some of the interactions in a logistic regression model. In my experience, grabbing a slice of odds ratios and looking at them out of the context of the entire model isn’t a very enlightening affair, especially in a case like this where several of the variables are correlated with each other. The best fit found in such cases, while telling essentially the same story overall, often is very sensitive to slight changes and will assign much more different values to the different components.

                      I’ve definitely seen situations where with two correlated variables, the best fit will “give” with one variable and “take” with the other. So for instance in this case, it may very well be that there are other variables not displayed in this table that are correlated with race, age of vaccination, diagnosis of autism, or some combination thereof and affect the odds ratios in ways that make this table completely misleading, even if none of the results displayed in the table are spurious.

                    • To an extent, though, you can dismiss any study because it did not study more variables.

                      There are actually 36 reported values because for four of the ORs, the letters “NA” are given. Six significant associations out of 36 reported results would be an awfully high number of chance findings for a p value of .05, especially since all those findings are positive.

                    • justthestats on October 16, 2014 at 7:45 pm said:

                      To an extent, though, you can dismiss any study because it did not study more variables.

                      Obviously any study can only study a reasonable number of variables. The only time you get in trouble is a case like this one here where you the study didn’t control for variables that are known to have an effect, especially in cases like this one where the variables known to have an effect are correlated with the ones you are studying. You also tend to get

                      There are actually 36 reported values because for four of the ORs, the letters “NA” are given.

                      Here’s how I arrived at the number 40: (11 rows * 4 comparisons per row) – 4 NA values

                      Six significant associations out of 36 reported results would be an awfully high number of chance findings for a p value of .05, especially since all those findings are positive.

                      That would be true if all of the comparisons were completely independent, but they’re not — the same sample is used repeatedly. If you have a spurious result for a subgroup, you shouldn’t be surprised if there is a spurious result for the groups it is aggregated with.

                      As far as I can see the most you can get is two significant associations without double-dipping. It’s not so unreasonable for two comparisons be spurious, especially if those subgroups had a low n, making it easy for just a few outlier cases to make a big difference.

                      Furthermore, you’re forgetting there were likely other comparisons in the study, whole tables of them. Once you get several tables in place, it makes it even more plausible that one of them will have two independent spurious values.

                    • Different studies control for different potential confounding variables; that doesn’t make them invalid. The point of this study was to see if there was an effect in the groups stratified for gender and race, and there was. He could have stopped there, but he went further to exclude low birth weight for which there was still an association even within the birth certificate group where there was a high percentage of low birth weight children.

                      In a table of 17 results solely for each of the race strata broken down by age range of vaccination, we shouldn’t expect to find any associations due to chance alone. Yet there are two strong, positive associations that are both within the black subgroup.

              • What Brian Hooker was trying to do was simply reanalyze data from an existing study so as to enumerate and quantify the risk of having an ASD diagnosis across early and later MMR-vaccinated groups….

                There are ways to extract risk from a case–control data set. Hooker does not seem to have considered any such nuances. (Indeed, his presentation falls well short of the seven-year-old STROBE checklist, but I’ve already pointed out that the lack of descriptive statistics makes it impossible to so much as verify the basic calculations.)

                The glaring issue here is that he didn’t try to “simply” rework the data, he did. Unfortunately, being simple isn’t a virtue here.

      • Argus Filch on October 6, 2014 at 7:43 pm said:

        I understand that you harbor some animus toward Orac.

        But Jim Frost? On what basis do you label him as “unreliable?”

        • Well, the company he works for does have pharma clients.

          • Lawrence on October 9, 2014 at 8:41 am said:

            @Jake – the company he works for also has thousands of non-Pharma clients….are you saying that being an employee of a company that has even a single Pharma client – and mind you, in this case, the “client” is a customer who already bought the software, creates a COI?

            More importantly, why would a company, who’s main source of revenue is not Pharma clients, care?

          • But that doesn’t refute what Mr. Frost has actually demonstrated; it’s just another lazy dismissal. You have considerable conflicts of interest so shouldn’t the merits of the claims themselves be examined? I would also like to know how Mr. Frost is wrong based upon his discussion of Hooker’s statistical analysis.

            • There’s no lazy dismissal; you brought up his same doubts here, but I still responded to them.

              What conflicts of interest do I have? Being a friend and colleague of Dr. Hooker’s?

              • You believe that your autism was caused by vaccines and you collaborate with those who not only believe that too but also have business interests that profit off of that belief e.g. the Geiers. Hooker also has a NVICP claim still pending and sits on the board of Focus Autism which funded his paper. All conflicts of interest he didn’t declare and by your logic should render his paper null and void. That is if you apply your COIs with equity.

                • My point was that it was hypocritical to support the retraction of Brian Hooker’s paper based on a competing interest while expecting people to listen to his critics who have competing interests of their own.

              • I should add that I am refuting claims based upon their merits, not who wrote them nor their apparent COIs. That is what I am asking you to do rather than dismiss Mr. Frost’s rebuttal of Hooker’s paper because you deem him “unreliable”. What of his statements is erroneous?

      • If -and this is a big if- Hooker breached the rules of suggesting reviewers by choosing some of his buddies, then this is grounds for retraction. At the very least it would certainly be grounds for having the paper re-reviewed by independent experts. And maybe this has now been done, and TN has negative reviews in hand which have advised them to reject the paper.

        Why don’t you ask Brian Hooker for the details?

        • All the retraction suggests is that there are undeclared conflicts on the part of the author. The likely take-away from that would be that the peer reviewers were not informed of whatever conflict Brian Hooker had not disclosed. And with post-publication peer review, the reviewers would naturally become biased towards finding something wrong with the paper after seeing it spontaneously scrubbed from the journal’s website and also after reading false reports including one from TIME Magazine that the paper had already been retracted.

          I am reaching out to him…

  4. Krebiozen on October 5, 2014 at 4:12 pm said:

    The fact that Hooker reanalyzed a set of case control data as if it were cohort data, his failure to correct for any confounders (he didn’t use conditional logistic regression), his reporting of relative risks instead of odds ratios, and his failure to take multiple comparisons into account (which alone would have removed any statistical significance) guarantee his ‘study’ has generated misleading results. Those blunders alone constitute clear evidence that the findings are unreliable.

    I would have expected someone with an MPH in epidemiology to understand that.

    • Well, his measurements and study design make sense given that he was trying to do a reanalysis comparing the risk for autism among MMR recipients within a population of participants in a previous study. You can also account for the impact of any variables on the results by stratifying for them, which is what he did. I don’t know what comparisons you are referring to that supposedly would have resolved the issue, but obviously the whistleblowing coauthor of the original CDC study doesn’t agree with you either.

      Rather than making snide remarks about my degree, perhaps you should look into the fact that the publisher’s basis for retracting Brian Hooker’s article goes against the policies it claims to follow.

      • Krebiozen on October 6, 2014 at 2:24 pm said:

        My remark about your degree wasn’t intended to be snide, it was an honest observation. I can understand people who aren’t educated in this area not understanding the issues, but not you. Given your education you should be able to see that the statistical methods Hooker used were entirely inappropriate, making the retraction of this paper entirely consistent with BMC guidelines.

        Perhaps you would like to explain precisely why Orac and Jim Frost’s analyses are unreliable.

        • See my above response to another commenter for further detail.

          Their analyses aren’t just unreliable; they are unreliable as sources. If you think Brian Hooker’s paper should be retracted based on an undeclared COI, then you shouldn’t expect me to trust sources with undeclared interests of their own.

  5. Jake, were you a reviewer for Hooker’s MMR publication or any other “study” that Hooker co-authored?

  6. Doug Troutman on October 6, 2014 at 2:22 am said:

    The reason the study was retracted is that it reported a result that industry doesn’t like. Gordon Douglas said they were conducting studies that would not show a link and those studies stand. If the government conducts studies and the results don’t work they rework it until they get the desired result. The drug companies learned from the tobacco companies that you not only need paid off congressman but you also need to control the main stream press. It is really that simple.

  7. Bob O'Hara on October 6, 2014 at 5:49 am said:

    An undeclared conflict of interest could make the findings unreliable, so could be covered by the first clause of the COPE guidelines.

    COPE has a lot of case studies on their site, so searching for ‘conflict of interest’ might bring up some more advice (even if there’s nothing directly relevant).

    • Bob, it is clear from the first clause of the guidelines that there has to be something wrong with the study findings themselves in order for them to be unreliable – either by honest mistake or genuine misconduct. Ironically, neither of those apply to Dr. Hooker’s study, but the latter does apply to the DeStefano study according to one of its own coauthors. Yet, it’s Dr. Hooker’s study that gets retracted while the DeStefano study does not even get an expression of concern.

      • Lawrence on October 6, 2014 at 9:21 am said:

        @Jake – and you know there isn’t anything wrong with the study findings, how exactly?

        How has your conversation with Hooker? Has he agreed to provide you with the retraction documentation yet?

        • I’m going by what the retraction itself says, which specifically mentions “concerns” which do not add up to “clear evidence” of unreliability.

          I’m reaching out to him…

  8. White Rose on October 6, 2014 at 8:48 am said:

    “Concern” doesnt even cover it . I’d be concerned if I had maimed millions of babies worwide and the truth was threatening to come out .

    My , my , my , what a jolly bunch of mercenaries you have attracted Jake . Its a compliment Jake . Really is .
    It must be very quiet over at lbrb, science blogs , Orac and so on (you know the sites that no-one reads !)
    We really must have hurt them this time . They hardly bother with AoA I notice – no need – when the mercenaries and the authors of AoA are one in the same .

  9. Pingback: It’s official! Brian Hooker’s “reanalysis” of MMR data is retracted. [Respectful Insolence] | Gaia Gazette

  10. You can spout all the rhetoric you want Lawrence, parents still know that vaccines cause autism. They also know that it isn’t just the MMR, and the damage extends well beyond just African American children.

    The only thing “officially retracted” studies do, is make parents even more suspicious about what the medical community is trying so hard to hide.

  11. White Rose on October 6, 2014 at 10:59 am said:

    Hear this well …….

    Bill Gates is facing a lawsuit for the illegal testing of tribal children in India. Surprised?

    This isn’t the first time vaccine programs sponsored by Melinda & Bill Gates have been implicated in harming children. How do they sleep at night ?

    Why not Chad too ? Killed a thousand babies there .

  12. AngryScience on October 6, 2014 at 7:11 pm said:

    Um, hi, not really “in the know” about scientific publishing, but what we have here is a paper whose methodology was blatantly flawed in a number of ways, and a statement from the paper which would seem to heavily imply that the only reason it passed in the first place was because there was a conflict of interest among the reviewers. Even if this isn’t in their official rules (or any stated rules) for retracting a paper, isn’t it basic common-sense that the paper be retracted? This is like complaining that the Mark Regnerus gay parenting study was retracted – what we’re dealing with here is a paper that is flawed to the point that none of its conclusions can be taken seriously; surely it ought to be retracted even if it hasn’t specifically violated any of the retraction policies, no?

    • Leaving aside doubt-casting over the study’s methodology or that only the author was specifically cited as not disclosing competing interests, guidelines are guidelines. There is no point in having them if they are going to be superseded in favor of “common sense.” Otherwise, there is nothing to stop an editor or publisher from making decisions based on their own bias – as is clearly the case here.

  13. j a higginbotham on October 7, 2014 at 4:44 am said:

    The retraction doesn’t seem to be that unusual.
    Here’s another similar recent one:
    The Editors regretfully retract the article [1] as we believe the peer-review process was compromised and inappropriately influenced by the authors. Following further post-publication peer review the Editors no longer have confidence in the soundness of the findings. We apologise to all affected parties for the inconvenience caused.

    • “Post” publication peer review ???

    • Interesting, but quite different. I note that retraction does not specifically refer to mere “concerns”, while stating that peer review was “inappropriately influenced by the authors.” That’s something not stated in the retraction of Brian’s article.

  14. Rebecca Fisher on October 7, 2014 at 7:31 am said:

    I’m being charitable here; surely the editor and publishers’ polite note about “concerns about the validity of the methods and statistical analysis” would be classed as “having clear evidence that the findings are unreliable “… “as a result of” … “honest error”. I suspect they’d have liked to have been a bit more unequivocal about just how strong those “concerns” were…

    (The only bits I’ve snipped from that are the bits regarding misconduct – I’m not trying to put together a cut and paste job in order to misrepresent what was said, in the manner of an AJW video)

  15. White Rose on October 7, 2014 at 7:43 am said:

    Hear this well ………..

    In 2010, two Merck virologists filed a federal lawsuit under the False Claims Act against their former employer, alleging the vaccine maker lied about the effectiveness of their mumps vaccine (which is part of the trivalent measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine).

    The whistleblowers, Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski, claimed they witnessed “firsthand the improper testing and data falsification in which Merck engaged to artificially inflate the vaccine’s efficacy findings.”

    They charged that Merck used improper testing techniques; manipulated testing methodology; abandoned undesirable test results; falsified test data; and failed to adequately investigate and report the diminished efficacy of its mumps vaccine.

    They also claim Merck; falsely verified that each manufacturing lot of mumps vaccine would be as effective as identified in the labeling; falsely certified the accuracy of applications filed with the FDA; falsely certified compliance with the terms of the CDC purchase contract; and mislabeled, misbranded and falsely certified its mumps vaccine, among other violations.

    Merck allegedly falsified the data to hide the fact that the mumps vaccine in the MMR shot has significantly declined in effectiveness.1

  16. Media Scholar Brand Comments on October 7, 2014 at 5:36 pm said:

    Every single study funded by the federal government concerning Autism and vaccines is riddled with conflicts of interests, competing interests, etc. Rip Rip Rip ’em out! Rip ’em out now!

    These academia nuts are bombastically bad judges of what conflicts of interests are seeing they either live in glass houses and/or receive pharmaceutical industry slush money for their neo-quack-watch activities.

    Prestigious medical publishing ain’t what it’s cracked up to be any more either. Lexus E-Fexus in such strange ways.

    Here’s to the boneheads that declare “Studies unethically written prove vaccines don’t cause Autism because liability will cost too much.” “Our authors conclude…vaccines suck, they cause Autism, and because we serve the greater good of the pharmaceutical companies that own and control our publishing we’ll go out of business if we say so.”

    Reduced to disqualification tactics to avoid serving the greater good is one thing, but hazing Big Jake is a certain sign of infantile mentalities surging forward like frisky coon-skin coat sophomores in a 23-Skid-doo jalopy making a run for more bathtub gin.

    The Ivy League schools are cranking ’em out by the dozens.

    Stay classy Harvard! Stay Classy!

    • Lukasz on October 8, 2014 at 8:23 am said:

      An that goes for all goverments world wide right? Like those that are in obvious conflict with one another too? Great logic. You know why goverments suppor vaccination? Because it’s cheaper to vaccinate then to cure people or pay welfer to those that have been disabled by disease.
      A healthy citizen brings money to the budget a sick citizen sucks money from the budget, so what does the goverment want? Think about it.
      Also big pharm would profit way more from curing disease then from preventing them. However even big pharma executives have families and they are unwilling to have their families at risk of catching potentially life threatening disease.

  17. White Rose on October 8, 2014 at 10:44 am said:

    Lukasz – hear this well .

    Why has William Thompson apologised to Dr Wakefield ?
    Why do we have a internal cdc memo from 2002 where they are all scrambling to hire lawyers ?
    Have you seen the indisputable pictures of the vaccine injured before and after ?
    Why do some lucky children lose their autism diagnosis after chelation of mercury and aluminium ?
    Why has the autism rate risen from 1 in 10000 to I’d say 1 in 36 ? (South korea)
    If its better diagnosis , would the same be true for Ebola , and therefore nothing to worry about with Ebola ?
    Why did Angela Merkel take a specially formulated H1N1 swine flu vaccine ? (and not a standard one)
    Why does William Thompson say never give a pregnant woman the flu jab with themiserol ?
    Why does the Amish community have next to no autism ?
    Why has a simple vaccinated versus unvaccinated study never been completed ?
    Why was simpsonwood kept so secret ? Why the restricted invite list ? Have you seen the quotes ?
    Where is Poul Thoresen ? And why conduct a scientific study outside of the US ? Why Denmark or Iceland ?
    Why is there no Autism in the country Somalia , but the diasporo from that country are recording autism rates of 1 in 8 in both Sweden and Minneapolis ?
    why is the Uganadan community of North Germany recording an autism rate of 1 in 6 and appreciably no autism in Uganda itself ?
    why do the authorities spend their time trying to block Doctors who treat autism ?

    You dont know much Lukasz , do you ?

  18. sam hall on October 8, 2014 at 11:23 am said:

    Hey Jake

    You new pals are not wasting time over at AOA I see ?

  19. sam hall on October 8, 2014 at 11:37 am said:

    You must be doing something right to have attracted so many new pals. Either that or LBRB is down the last few days and they need to earn a living so posting here may be approved by the boss or you have upset a few folk ?

    Anyhoow – The latest information suggests that as far back as 2002 the likes of Colleen Boyle et al were seeking private legal assistance to protect them from forward suits relating to the research that the CDC is so desperate to stand by …..they knew they was a problem with that research a long time before we did.

    I see the Vaccine refusal rates in California amongst the well educated continues to rise – that’s going well.
    Its all about tipping points and the point at which things collapse if often a lot lower than you might imagine.

    The whole vaccine programme is undermined and blemished by so much horrendous activity that most thinking people are doing their own research and assessing the risks. The science is there to prove Vaccines Cause Autism even though the science is suppressed. I don’t believe that science alone will win the day here. The numbers of vaccine injured children is enormous, the seams are bursting on the dam of suppressed parents (Hear this Well) and the vaccine refusal rates continue to rise and all this despite a complete media blackout. Imagine if the mainstream media was truly a free press and reported just a fraction of what was really going on…. the Bill Thompson Story, Simpsonwood, the BMGF deaths and experiments in the less developed world without informed consent………hmm it wouldn’t take much at all.

    I suppose it would have to be prosecutions for crimes against humanity …………..

  20. Just to respond to the ping-backed blog post above – Gorski claims I ignore “the part about how those undeclared conflicts of interest compromised the peer review process.” Yet he clearly ignores how that’s an excuse to further justify the retraction based on something not justified by the guidelines the journal and publisher claim to follow.

  21. Rebecca Fisher on October 9, 2014 at 8:16 am said:


    Given that speculation is rife that it may be the choice of peer reviewers which was, in part, responsible for a conflict of interests, could you please tell us who the peer reviewers were? Presumably they were “experts” suggested by Dr Hooker; were they people with whom he’d collaborated/published in the past? That would certainly count as a COI.

    Kind regards,


    • I can’t; Translational Neurodegeneration operates on a closed peer review system.

      • Rebecca Fisher on October 14, 2014 at 7:22 am said:

        Sorry Jake – I’d missed your reply.

        Could you then tell us who your good friend Dr Hooker suggested as peer reviewers? Whether they were used or not, it’s standard practice for a paper’s author to suggest suitably qualified peer reviewers. I’ve got a little bet with myself as to some of the names who might be on the list…

        Kind regards,


        • I can’t; I don’t know.

          • Rebecca Fisher on October 14, 2014 at 7:58 am said:

            Why not ask him – you’re good friends, aren’t you? It would certainly clarify any doubt about his choice of peer reviewers being / not being a cause of a conflict of interest. I’d have thought that would have been one of the first things you’d do as an investigative journalist.

            Kind regards,


            • The retraction of Hooker’s paper never said he “inappropriately influenced” peer review, unlike another a retraction in another journal of the same publisher. Only he was cited as having failed to disclose any potential competing interests, not anyone else.

              • Rebecca FIsher on October 14, 2014 at 12:15 pm said:

                But if the paper had been peer reviewed by someone who, for example, had recently co-authored papers with Dr Hooker, that would certainly count as a conflict of interest on Dr Hooker’s part, as in he’d be the one with something to gain, ie, a potentially easy ride from friendly reviewers.

                Go on Jake, why don’t you ask him who he put forward as peer reviewers? What are you afraid of?

                Kind regards,


                • But it would also be on the reviewers’ part, and only Hooker was cited as having undeclared competing interests.

                  • Rebecca Fisher on October 15, 2014 at 7:17 am said:

                    Given the amount of effort you’ve put into defending this study, I’m very surprised you don’t want to rule out (absolutely definitely) one area where a conflict could have occurred.

                    Go on Jake, ask your good friend Dr Hooker who he suggested as peer reviewers – and if any of them actually performed that task. You’ve got nothing to be afraid of if you’re so certain that there was no conflict of interest anywhere and that the paper shouldn’t have been retracted.

                    Otherwise it really looks as though you’re not asking the questions for fear of the answers you might get – and that’s no way to build a reputation as a fearless investigative journalist.

                    Kind Regards,


                    • No, because whatever answers I “might get” would not change the fact that the retraction was unjustified. In any case, what you suggest is not what’s conveyed in the retraction statement.

                    • Rebecca Fisher on October 15, 2014 at 11:51 am said:

                      But Jake, should it turn out that the peer reviewers suggested by Dr Hooker had recently worked with him, that would indicate a clear conflict of interest. You say that what I’m suggesting is not conveyed in the retraction statement – what you mean is either that you don’t want it to be conveyed, or you genuinely don’t think it is conveyed. It’s actually a perfectly reasonable possibility.

                      I’m extremely surprised that you can’t see that, and even if you really can’t, I’m even more surprised that you’re not curious as to who the suggested reviewers were. Were this a paper that you disagreed with, you’d be all over this. If you want to be taken seriously as an investigative journalist, you need to apply the same standards to those you agree with as those you don’t. You’ve recently been quite good at that when you held Andrew Wakefield to account for his highly unethical “outing” of Dr Thompson. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t do that now.

                      Or is it that you’re so desperate for your belief that the retraction is unwarranted to be true, you’re refusing to even consider (if only to rule out) any suggestions as to why it might reasonably have been retracted?

                      Do you have the full retraction statement yet from your friend Dr Hooker?

                    • Based on the retraction statement, there is no reason to believe Hooker did suggest peer reviewers who had recently worked with him; it’s just him cited as having potential undeclared interests. Regardless, a retraction would not be justified – so no to your first question. No to your second either; I am sure Dr. Hooker will give a statement when he is ready to give a statement.

                    • Lawrence on October 15, 2014 at 2:09 pm said:

                      Since when does an “Investigative Journalist” wait until a subject of interest is “ready?”

                      And if he’s never “ready?” Will you accept that as an acceptable answer? Seems like Hooker is willing to give a statement to ABC (and a very brief one at that) and he doesn’t have time anymore for his friends?

                      What does that tell you Jake?

                    • When it is important to maintain a line of communication with that “subject” by not jeopardizing an established rapport with him?

                      Be patient.

                    • “When it is important to maintain a line of communication with that “subject” by not jeopardizing an established rapport with him?”

                      The value of that rapport and line of communication, for a journalist, is in educating the public as to the underlying facts. If you never do that, then all it does is satisfy your own curiosity while implicitly leeching credibility from your statements.

                      In other words, you make it sound as if you’re buttering him up in preparation for a big info dump, as Wakefield did. If you’re not, what are you waiting for? If you have information, it’s past time to share it. If you’re only holding on so as to get more information from Hooker–assuming he’s dumb enough to fall for the same trick he pulled on Thompson–additional time makes that information less likely to affect the public debate, not more.

                    • I have no information about the retraction beyond what’s publicly known already. That said, I have no intention of breaking his trust as Wakefield has done.

  22. White Rose on October 9, 2014 at 12:05 pm said:

    So William Thompson has confessed to the world , that the CDC has known about the Swedish disease since at least 2002 . They had the stats all along that supported the spike in Autism that we see in the Somalian & Ugandan populations who live in West (ie the African American boys).

    Somalian Rate of Autism in Minneapolis 1 in 8 (the cdc knew since at least 2002)
    Somalian Rate of Autism in Sweden similar to 1 in 8 (the cdc knew since at least 2002)
    Ugandan rate of Autism in Northern Germany 1 in 6 (the cdc knew since at least 2002)

    Vaccines are the cause of Autism , and these African communities living in the West are the outlying clear cut cases which prove it beyong a doubt for all the other racial groups .

    Prosecutions are what we demand !

  23. The retraction states this, “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.”

    That is most certainly justification to retract the paper but you are not acknowledging.

  24. White Rose on October 9, 2014 at 6:09 pm said:

    Hayes , hear this well

    the retraction is yet more criminal activity by the thieves at the cdc .

  25. Lawrence on October 9, 2014 at 7:51 pm said:

    So, what did Hooker say?

  26. Pingback: Brian Hooker's Findings Are Confirmed By CDC's Results | Autism Investigated

  27. Media Scholar on October 10, 2014 at 5:47 am said:

    Anybody who publishes papers about the MMR and its’ causal relationship with Autism is obviously going to be attacked.

    This publisher must stand their ground by resisting the temptation to view a well-oiled Pharma Black Ops operation as mere peers. These are black shirts itching to get their dirty licks in on a paper they are being paid to take exception to.

    We’ve got lots of hands caught in the cookie jar.

  28. Ok first thing you ought to know is that autism occurs on more than one just one gene, hence the spectrum, hence over and undersensitivities and co-morbidities. Once you understand that you will understand that genetic mutation can occur to anyone on any gene and the latest study suggests that autism occurs when the bio markers in the initial development of the brain are laid down. So take your friend’s inane attempt at a study and take your equally uninformed opinion and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

  29. Pingback: Brian Hooker Rewards Wakefield For Betraying Whistleblower | Autism Investigated

  30. Pingback: Focus Autism Attorney: Wakefield "Hijacked The Story"

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