The questionnaire based ‘study’ is even worse than the hypothesis.
Following on from yesterday’s blog about “HPV vaccination syndrome” I want to address a few issues about the accompanying report “HPV vaccination syndrome. A questionnaire-based study.”
First, the introductory text is identical to the accompanying article. Could they not at least paraphrase? You are not actually allowed to plagiarise yourself in the scientific literature. The second, which I did not mention in Part 1 of this topic, is that the author does not understand the difference between “Adverse Event” and “Adverse Reaction”. All reports are Adverse Events, some will be reactions to the vaccine, and others will be coincidental. This is a very fundamental misunderstanding and one that is central to their argument.
Anyway, the level of ignorance demonstrated in the introduction pales next to the methods.
Basically here is what they did from their abstract:
We used the following validated questionnaires to appraise the chronic illness that might appear after HPV vaccination: The 2010 American College of Rheumatology Fibromyalgia Diagnostic Criteria, COMPASS 31 dysautonomia questionnaire, and S-LANSS neuropathic pain form. These questionnaires and a Bpresent illness^ survey were e-mailed to persons who had the onset of a chronic ailment soon after HPV vaccination.
So what they actually did (if you also read the Hypothesis article) was go to anti immunisation websites and blogs in(SaneVax for example, which is a rabidly anti vaccination organisation) and contact individuals who had complained of becoming ill with the symptoms of interest after vaccination. However what they did beyond this is unknown because it is not described. The methodology section is the briefest I have ever seen, a single paragraph. How can the work possibly be assessed for quality with so little information?
The results section starts with “the outstanding results of 45 filled questionnaires…” Um…gosh, they think they have outstanding results. I am speechless.
In reading the discussion I cannot help but wonder if these authors went purposefully to find people who nicely fitted previously described cases. The possible mechanism they propose makes no sense – “a neurotoxic disease”, and I have discussed here in Part 1 why this seems absurd. Oh, by the way, the authors admit that there has been no direct medical examination of affected individuals either but manage to conclude that their evidence suggests a disabling syndrome after HPV vaccination. This is an exceedingly long bow to draw.
Here is but one example of some real science on the matter. In 2007 global experts on vaccines and vaccination conducted a study noting that
The large-scale implementation of human papilloma virus (HPV) immunization will be followed by cases of autoimmune diseases occurring in temporal association with immunizations. To anticipate events that might be mistakenly assumed to be caused by immunization, their prevalence was monitored before vaccine introduction
Very wise prediction.
So they conducted a cohort study of 214,896 adolescent females and 221,472 young adults. They computed the rates of ER consultations, hospitalisation and outpatient consultations and estimated the risk of coincident associations.
I love these guys!
The list of conditions they assessed is extensive and includes a range of autoimmune, allergic, neurological and pain conditions. Non-allergic immune related conditions affected 86 per 100,000. They calculated the risk of these conditions occurring by chance within varying time periods following vaccination.
So what happened subsequently, was there an increase in conditions above base line? A summary of subsequent scientific findings on the safety of HPV vaccine are summarised [here] and my commentary [here].
BUT…you may argue that the authors of the HPV vaccination syndrome are proposing a mechanism of neurotoxicity, not autoimmunity. I have argued why I believe this argument is flawed [link] but below an equally valid argument.